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Hounsou, Djimon 1964–

Djimon Hounsou 1964

Actor

At a Glance

From Model to Actor

Cast in Amistad

Continued Acting Career

Sources

Djimon Hounsou, from the West African nation of Benin, stands on the brink of becoming the first black African international movie star. Hounsous performance in the historical epic Amistad was widely praised and drew much attention to the previously little known actor. Directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Debbie Allen, Amistad told the true story of a bloody uprising on a slave ship bound for Cuba in 1839. The captured Africans demanded that the crew members remaining alive take the ship back to Africa. Instead, the crew sailed north to the United States where the Africans were jailed while their fate was decided in a court battle pitting American abolitionists against pro-slavery forces who viewed the Africans as property belonging to slaveholders. Hounsou played Cinque, the leader of the revolt. The film also starred Morgan Freeman as an African American observing events, Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams, the former president who pleaded the cause of the Africans before the Supreme Court, and Matthew McConaughey as a fervently Abolitionist attorney. It is a great movie that should be seen because it enables us to get in touch with a history that is only 160 years in our past. Like Roots, it forces us to look reality in the face, wrote B.B. Robinson about Amistad in the Chicago Independent Bulletin. S. Allen Counter in the Bay State Banner called Hounsou the reincarnation of Cinque adding that Amistad deals in a straightforward and honest manner with the most neglected subject of the American past, namely unrequited chattel slavery. More importantly, it informs the subject and demonstrates better than any other film on American slavery how much good can be achieved when persons of different racial and religious backgrounds work together for what is right.

Djimon Hounsou (pronounced JL-mon HON-sou) was born in Cotenou, Benin, in 1964, the youngest of five children. His fathers occupation as a cook made the family relatively prosperous by West African standards. We were not a rich African family. Everything was very basic. If you knew the way I lived then, and the way Im living now its day and night, Hounsou told Lindsay Bishop of Venice. Hounsou grew up speaking French and several dialects of Goun, the Beninois language. The packed movie showings in his televisionless home village got him thinking about a career in show business. Once you were in you couldnt move. Every space was filled with people. Thats when I knew I wanted to be an entertainer, Hounsou told Carol Day of People.

At the age of thirteen, Hounsou was sent to Lyons, France to live with an older brother and study to become a doctor. To the great disappointment of his family, he proved to be a lackadaisical student with no interest in medicine. I wanted a different life from the one my family planned, Hounsou told Day. Leaving school at age twenty, Hounsou drifted to Paris after being thrown out of the house by his brother. Without a place to live or working papers that allowed him to get a job, Hounsou found himself sleeping on benches and bathing in fountains. Going through peoples garbage at night to find a piece of bread to eatthat was not a pretty sight. I didnt want any trouble with the police, so I kept a low profile, Hounsou told Daniel J. Sharfstein of the New York Times. After living on the

At a Glance

Born in 1964 in Cotenou, Benin; the son of Pierre (a cook), and Aibertine Hounsou. Education: Attended schools in lyons, France, c. 1977-84.

Career: Fashion and photographers model, France and the United States, 1987-93; actor, 1990.

Awards: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Award, for outstanding actor in a motion picture for Amistad, 1998; Independent Spirit Award, for best supporting actor, 2004; Golden Satellite Award, for In America, 2004; Black Reel Award, for In America, 2004.

Addresses: Publicist Rogers and Cowan, 1888 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA, 90067.

street for over a year, Hounsous impressive, six-foot two-inch physique was noticed by a passerby who handed him the business card of a photographer. Hounsou followed up on the idea. I never pictured myself that good-looking [but] I had nothing to lose, Hounsou told Day. Hounsous photograph was circulated to modeling agencies and he soon found himself on fashion show runways and appearing in an advertisement campaign for designer Thierry Mugler. Its a very surreal world, modeling, but it kept me off the streets, literally, Hounsou said in an interview posted on the Irish Film and Television Net Web site.

From Model to Actor

Hounsous work with Mugler led to his being cast in three music videos directed by David Fincher: Steve Winwoods Roll with It, Madonnas Express Yourself, and Paula Abduls Straight Up. The videos got the attention of noted photographer Herb Ritts and Hounsou soon became one of Ritts favorite models. For Ritts book Men and Women, Hounsou posed with an octopus on the top of his head. At the time I didnt speak English, so I didnt understand what [Ritts] was talking about, what octopus meant, Hounsou said to Bishop. And they brought in this big container. I was looking at him and trying to communicate with my face like What?!?!In less than ten minutes he got the picture. The picture came out. It was a beautiful photo. At the time I didnt think so, but it was nice working with him. Hounsou worked with Ritts again on Janet Jacksons video Love Will Never Do Without You. Ritts said of Hounsou to Sharfstein: I just loved his inner soul in combination with his physical stature. He has an incredible sensitivity. The way he make shapeshe really understands his body. That comes from an inner sense.

In 1990, Hounsou moved to Los Angeles, hoping to break into acting. He began taking drama classes and taught himself English by listening to the narration on cable television documentaries. The first few years when I was learning English I had to think in French before I said the things I wanted to say in English. Now I dream mostly in English. Now its almost the reverse. I have to think in English now to write in French sometimes, Hounsou told Bishop. In the United States, Hounsou found his race mattered much more, to both whites and other black people, than it had in France. It never occurred to me that there was a way to behave black in order to be black That was one of my first encounters with, I guess, the American lifestyle. It was difficult for me. Growing up in France, I was just a human being. I came here and they tell you, Hey, he behaves like a white boy. I didnt know there was a way to be black. So that was shocking, Hounsou told Bishop.

Hounsous first film appearance came in comedienne Sandra Bernhards screen adaptation of her Off-Broadway show Without You Im Nothing in 1990. Hounsou, who could not yet speak English, played the silent role of Bernhards ex-boyfriend. He then landed small roles in 1992s Unlawful Entry, a crime thriller starring Kurt Russell, and in the 1994 science fiction film Stargate, also starring Russell.

Cast in Amistad

It was Amistad, director Steven Spielbergs highly touted follow up to his Academy Award winning based-on-truth Holocaust story Schindlers List, that brought Hounsou to the attention of the public. Making a movie out of the story of the Amistad uprising was the idea of dancer/actress Debbie Allen, who produced the film. While browsing through the bookstore at her alma mater Howard University several years ago, Allen happened upon the book Black Mutiny: The Revolt of the Schooner Amistad by William A. Owens. I was inspired, overwhelmed and upset that I had not heard the story, Allen told Bennie M. Currie of American Visions. Allen acquired the film rights to Owens book but found no movie studio interested in the Amistad tale. Finally, she took the idea to Spielberg. He was willing to help get the project off the ground but was reluctant to direct the film himself, suspecting that a black director might be more appropriate. Allen disagreed. I think if there was a ever a movie done by a man who understands people in bondage, people suffering, people overcoming, it was Schindlers List. And besides, I needed a hot, strong filmmakersomeone who could handle a story that was epic, Allen explained to Currie.

In landing the role of Cinque, Hounsou won out over more than one hundred actors who auditioned for the role. Djimon just has an enduring quality, a real sense of destiny. Hes extremely powerful and charismatic and charming. I saw him, and he was just how I imagined Cinque to look and sound. He was Cinque at first sight, Spielberg told Sharfstein. Cinque speaks just a single line of English in the entire film: Give us free! The rest of the role is in Mende, a West African language spoken in Sierra Leone, the area from which Cinque was taken. Though Hounsous native tongue, Goun, is also West African, it is no closer to Mende than English is to French. Hounsou was given only ten days to learn the basics of Mende. This linguistic chore added to the pressure of tackling his first major acting assignment. It was very hard. I would go home every night and work, work, work on the script, and then sometimes I would show up the next day feeling disappointed in myself. Morgan Freeman gave me good advice. He said acting is like life, and that some days you are good at it, and some days you just have to get through by doing the best you can, Hounsou told Terry Lawson of the Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service. Hounsou viewed Cinque as an ordinary man. He never intended to lead this whole thing in the first place. He only did what he did to free himself. I dont really like that hes called a slave, because theres no such thing in Cinques mind as being a slave. Hes somebody who never chose to be anything but a human being, Hounsou told Scharfstein.

Freeman found that Hounsou completed his task with flying colors. Djimons perfect. Hell be on peoples minds for a while. What hes personifying is the strength and conviction of a person whos decided: This is not my destiny. This is not my fate. My destiny is not in the hull of this ship, Freeman told Scharfstein. Matthew McConaughey was similarly impressed by Hounsou. Hes completely unaffected. He was so good and so raw because of what he did not know. He had a range. He could make the transition from fear to weeping in all sincerity. And that was innate for him. I dont know where it comes from. Hes also one of the most sensitive and compassionate men Ive ever met, McConaughey told Andy Seiler of USA Today.

Released in December 1997, Amistad garnered mostly favorable reviews. If you were wondering what Steven Spielberg could possibly do for an encore after Schindlers List, the answer is Amistad. If the first film finally established his credentials as a serious filmmaker as well as a master fabricator of big pop entertainments, Amistad confirms them. Its a big, bold noble juggernaut of a film that literally and figuratively brings to light a pivotal piece of American history, wrote Jay Carr in the Boston Globe. The film did only modest business at the box office and was far outdistanced by a more sensational based-on-fact film, Titanic, which was released at approximately the same time.

Continued Acting Career

After completing Amistad, Hounsou appeared in III Gotten Gains, another slave story, this one a low-budget feature directed by young newcomer Joel Marsden and co-starring Eartha Kitt. Deep Rising, a horror film Hounsou made before Amistad, was released in early 1998. The pride he feels towards his association with Amistad has made him more choosy about future projects. He explained to Lawson: Yes, I want to work, because that is the only way my acting will improve. But I cant just take a job now to work. I need to be very careful not to screw this up.

After playing a non-English speaking man in Amistad, Hounsou found that Hollywood producers were surprised with his ability to act in English. That difficulty and Hounsous desire to play a variety of different parts has made his job search in Hollywood a challenge. He told USA Today that moviemakers in Hollywood think of you as a black artist, not an artist, and thats crippling. You have to fight and fight for them to think of a role as being black because theyve been thinking white, white, white. Despite these challenges, Hounsou has played a variety of characters in more recent films, including Gladiator (2000), The Four Feathers (2002), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), and Biker Boyz (2003), among others. But it was Hounsous 2003 work in In America that earned him a great deal more praise. For his portrayal of Mateo, a painter who is dying of AIDS living next door to an Irish immigrant family, Hounsou won awards for best supporting actor, and was even nominated for an Oscar. He played Mateo as a mysterious, gentle man. Think dignity, director Jim Sheridan told Hounsou about the character, according to Entertainment Weekly: I wanted to get that spiritual aspect. Hes very powerful.

In his private life, Hounsou shares a Beverly Hills apartment with his girlfriend, actress/screenwriter Victoria Mahoney. He enjoys working out at the gym, horseback riding, and polo.

Sources

Periodicals

American Visions, December 1997-January 1998, p. 39.

Amsterdam News (New York), January 7, 1998, p. 20.

Bay State Banner (Boston), August 12, 1998, p. 26.

Boston Globe, December 12, 1997, p. C1.

Calgary Sun, January 2, 1998; May 1, 2000.

Chicago Independent Bulletin, February 12, 1998, p. 13.

Detroit News, December 12, 1997.

Entertainment Weekly, February 6, 2004.

Jet, February 16, 2004.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, December 8, 1997.

Macleans, December 15, 1997, p. 62.

New Republic, December 22, 1997, p. 24.

Newsweek, December 8, 1997, p. 64.

New York Times, December 7, 1997.

Oakland Post, December 24, 1997, p. 8.

People, December 15, 1997, p. 19; January 12, 1998, p. 82.

Time, December 15, 1997, p. 108.

USA Today, December 9, 1997, p. Dl; July 2, 1999.

Variety, December 2, 1997, p. 27; December 8, 1997, p. 110.

Venice, December 1997, p. 36-40.

On-line

Irish Film and Television Net, www.iftn.ie (June 3, 2004).)

Other

Other Information also provided by Rogers and Cowan Publicity Agency.

Tom and Sara Pendergast

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Hounsou, Djimon 1964–

Djimon Hounsou 1964

Actor

At a Glance

Sources

Djimon Hounsou, from the West African nation of Benin, stands on the brink of becoming the first black African international movie star. Hounsous performance in the historical epic Amistad was widely praised and drew much attention to the previously little known actor. Directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Debbie Allen, Amistad told the true story of a bloody uprising on a slave ship bound for Cuba in 1839. The captured Africans demanded that the crew members remaining alive take the ship back to Africa. Instead, the crew sailed north to the United States where the Africans were jailed while their fate was decided in a court battle pitting American abolitionists against proslavery forces who viewed the Africans as property belonging to slaveholders. Hounsou played Cinque, the leader of the revolt. The film also starred Morgan Freeman as an African American observing events, Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams, the former president who pleaded the cause of the Africans before the Supreme Court, and Matthew McConaughey as a fervently Abolitionist attorney. It is a great movie that should be seen because it enables us to get in touch with a history that is only 160 years in our past. Like Roots, it forces us to look reality in the face, wrote B.B. Robinson about Amistad in the Chicago Independent Bulletin. S. Allen Counter in the Bay State Banner called Hounsou the reincarnation of Cinque adding that Amistad deals in a straightforward and honest manner with the most neglected subject of the American past, namely unrequited chattel slavery. More importantly, it informs the subject and demonstrates better than any other film on American slavery how much good can be achieved when persons of different racial and religious backgrounds work together for what is right.

Djimon Hounsou (pronounced JI-mon HON-sou) was born in Cotenou, Benin, in 1964, the youngest of five children. His fathers occupation as a cook made the family relatively prosperous by West African standards. We were not a rich African family. Everything was very basic. If you knew the way I lived then, and the way Im living nowits day and night, Hounsou told Lindsay Bishop of Venice. Hounsou grew up speaking French and several dialects of Goun, the Beninois language. The packed movie showings in his television-less home village got him thinking about a career in show business. Once you were in you couldnt move. Every space was

At a Glance

Born in Cotenou, Benin, in 1964, the son of Pierre (a cook), and Albertine Hounsou. Attended schools in Lyons, France, c. 1977-84.

Career: Worked as a fashion and photographers model in France and the U.S., c. 1987-93; moved to U.S. in 1990; film appearances include Without You Im Nothing, 1990; Unlawful Entry, 1992; Stargate, 1994; Amistad, 1997; Deep Rising, 1997; III Gotten Gains, 1998; also appeared in music videos with Steve Winwood, Paula Abdul, Madonna, and Janet Jackson, c. late 1980s-early 1990s.

Awards: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Award for outstanding actor in a motion picture for Amistad, 1998.

Addresses: Home Beverly Hills, CA; Publicist Rogers and Cowan, 1888 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA, 90067.

filled with people. Thats when I knew I wanted to be an entertainer, Hounsou told Carol Day of People.

At the age of thirteen, Hounsou was sent to Lyons, France to live with an older brother and study to become a doctor. To the great disappointment of his family, he proved to be a lackadaisical student with no interest in medicine. I wanted a different life from the one my family planned, Hounsou told Day. Leaving school at age twenty, Hounsou drifted to Paris after being thrown out of the house by his brother. Without a place to live or working papers that allowed him to get a job, Hounsou found himself sleeping on benches and bathing in fountains. Going through peoples garbage at night to find a piece of bread to eatthat was not a pretty sight. I didnt want any trouble with the police, so I kept a low profile, Hounsou told Daniel J. Sharfstein of the New York Times. After living on the street for over a year, Hounsous impressive, six feet, two inch physique was noticed by a passerby who handed him the business card of a photographer. Hounsou followed up on the idea. I never pictured myself that good-looking [but] I had nothing to lose, Hounsou told Day. Hounsous photograph was circulated to modeling agencies and he soon found himself on fashion show runways and appearing in an advertisement campaign for designer Thierry Mugler. Its a very surreal world, modeling, but it kept me off the streets, literally, Hounsou said in an interview posted on the Irish Film and Television Net website.

Hounsous work with Mugler led to his being cast in three music videos directed by David FincherSteve Win-woods Roll with It, Madonnas Express Yourself, and Paula Abduls Straight Up. The videos got the attention of noted photographer Herb Ritts and Hounsou soon became one of Ritts favorite models. For Ritts book Men and Women Hounsou posed with an octopus on the top of his head. At the time I didnt speak English, so I didnt understand what [Ritts] was talking about, what octopus meant, Hounsou said to Bishop. And they brought in this big container. I was looking at him and trying to communicate with my face like What?!?!In less than ten minutes he got the picture. The picture came out. It was a beautiful photo. At the time I didnt think so, but it was nice working with him. Hounsou worked with Ritts again on Janet Jacksons video Love Will Never Do Without You. Ritts said of Hounsou to SharfsteinI just loved his inner soul in combination with his physical stature. He has an incredible sensitivity. The way he make shapeshe really understands his body. That comes from an inner sense.

In 1990, Hounsou moved to Los Angeles, hoping to break into acting. He began taking drama classes and taught himself English by listening to the narration on cable television documentaries. The first few years when I was learning English I had to think in French before I said the things I wanted to say in English. Now I dream mostly in English. Now its almost the reverse. I have to think in English now to write in French sometimes, Hounsou told Bishop. In the United States, Hounsou found his race mattered much more, to both whites and other black people, than it had in France. It never occurred to me that there was a way to behave black in order to be black That was one of my first encounters with, I guess, the American lifestyle. It was difficult for me. Growing up in France, I was just a human being. I came here and they tell you, Hey, he behaves like a white boy. I didnt know there was a way to be black. So that was shocking, Hounsou told Bishop.

Hounsous first film appearance came in comedienne Sandra Bernhards screen adaptation of her Off-Broadway show Without You Im Nothing in 1990. Hounsou, who could not yet speak English, played the silent role of Bernhards ex-boyfriend. He then landed small roles in 1992s Unlawful Entry, a crime thriller starring Kurt Russell, and in the 1994 science fiction film Stargate, also starring Russell.

It was Amistad, director Steven Spielbergs highly touted follow up to his Academy Award winning based-on-truth Holocaust story Schindlers List, that brought Hounsou to the attention of the public. Making a movie out of the story of the Amistad uprising was the idea of dancer/actress Debbie Allen, who produced the film. While browsing through the bookstore at her alma mater Howard University several years ago, Allen happened upon the book Black Mutiny: The Revolt of the Schooner Amistad by William A. Owens. I was inspired, overwhelmed and upset that I had not heard the story, Allen told Bennie M. Currie of American Visions. Allen acquired the film rights to Owens book but found no movie studio interested in the Amistad tale. Finally, she took the idea to Spielberg. He was willing to help get the project off the ground but was reluctant to direct the film himself, suspecting that a black director might be more appropriate. Allen disagreed. I think if there was a ever a movie done by a man who understands people in bondage, people suffering, people overcoming, it was Schindlers List. And besides, I needed a hot, strong filmmakersomeone who could handle a story that was epic, Allen explained to Currie.

In landing the role of Cinque, Hounsou won out over more than one hundred actors who auditioned for the role. Djimon just has an enduring quality, a real sense of destiny. Hes extremely powerful and charismatic and charming. I saw him, and he was just how I imagined Cinque to look and sound.He was Cinque at first sight, Spielberg told Sharfstein. Cinque speaks just a single line of English in the entire filmGive us free! The rest of the role is in Mende, a West African language spoken in Sierra Leone, the area from which Cinque was taken. Though Hounsous native tongue, Goun, is also West African, it is no closer to Mende than English is to French.

Hounsou was given only ten days to learn the basics of Mende. This linguistic chore added to the pressure of tackling his first major acting assignment. It was very hard. I would go home every night and work, work, work on the script, and then sometimes I would show up the next day feeling disappointed in myself. Morgan Freeman gave me good advice. He said acting is like life, and that some days you are good at it, and some days you just have to get through by doing the best you can, Hounsou told Terry Lawson of the Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service. Hounsou viewed Cinque as an ordinary man. He never intended to lead this whole thing in the first place. He only did what he did to free himself. I dont really like that hes called a slave, because theres no such thing in Cinques mind as being a slave. Hes somebody who never chose to be anything but a human being, Hounsou told Scharfstein.

Freeman found that Hounsou completed his task with flying colors. Djimons perfect. Hell be on peoples minds for a while. What hes personifying is the strength and conviction of a person whos decided: This is not my destiny. This is not my fate, My destiny is not in the hull of this ship, Freeman told Scharfstein. Matthew McConaughey was similarly impressed by Hounsou. Hes completely unaffected. He was so good and so raw because of what he did not know. He had a range. He could make the transition from fear to weeping in all sincerity. And that was innate for him. I dont know where it comes from. Hes also one of the most sensitive and compassionate men Ive ever met, McConaughey told Andy Seiler of USA Today.

Released in December 1997, Amistad garnered mostly favorable reviews. If you were wondering what Steven Spielberg could possibly do for an encore after Schindlers List, the answer is Amistad. If the first film finally established his credentials as a serious filmmaker as well as a master fabricator of big pop entertainments, Amistad confirms them. Its a big, bold noble juggernaut of a film that literally and figuratively brings to light a pivotal piece of American history, wrote Jay Carr in the Boston Globe. The film did only modest business at the box office and was far outdistanced by a more sensational based-on-fact film, Titanic, which was released at approximately the same time.

After completing Amistad, Hounsou appeared in ILL Gotten Gains, another slave story, this one a low-budget feature directed by young newcomer Joel Marsden and co-starring Eartha Kitt. Deep Rising, a horror film Hounsou made before Amistad, was released in early 1998.

In his private life, Hounsou shares a Beverly Hills apartment with his girlfriend, actress/screenwriter Victoria Mahoney. He enjoys working out at the gym, horseback riding, and polo. The pride he feels towards his association with Amistad has made him more choosy about future projects. He explained to LawsonYes, I want to work, because that is the only way my acting will improve. But I cant just take a job now to work. I need to be very careful not to screw this up.

Sources

American Visions, December 1997-January 1998, p. 39.

Amsterdam News (New York), January 7, 1998, p. 20.

Bay State Banner (Boston), August 12, 1998, p. 26.

Boston Globe, December 12, 1997, p. C1.

Chicago Independent Bulletin, February 12, 1998, p. 13.

Detroit News, December 12, 1997.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, December 8, 1997.

Macleans, December 15, 1997, p. 62.

New Republic, December 22, 1997, p. 24.

Newsweek, December 8, 1997, p. 64.

New York Times, December 7, 1997.

Oakland Post, December 24, 1997, p. 8.

People, December 15, 1997, p. 19; January 12, 1998, p. 82.

Time, December 15, 1997, p. 108.

USA Today, December 9, 1997, p. D1.

Variety, December 2, 1997, p. 27; December 8, 1997, p. 110.

Venice, December 1997, p. 36-40.

Other

Information also provided by Rogers and Cowan Publicity Agency and the Irish Film and Television Net Website (www.iftn.ie).

Mary Kalfatovic

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"Hounsou, Djimon 1964–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hounsou, Djimon 1964–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hounsou-djimon-1964

"Hounsou, Djimon 1964–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hounsou-djimon-1964

Hounsou, Djimon 1964–

Hounsou, Djimon 1964–

(Djimon, Djimon Housoun)

PERSONAL

Name is pronounced "Ji-min Ohn-soo"; full name, Djimon Gaston Hounsou; born April 24, 1964, in Cotenou, Benin; immigrated to France, c. 1977; immigrated to the United States, c. 1990; son of Pierre (a cook) and Albertine Hounsou. Avocational Interests: Horseback riding, working out at the gym.

Addresses: Agent—The Gersh Agency, 232 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Manager—The Safran Company, 9420 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 250, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Actor. Also worked as a model in France and England; appeared in television commercial for Gap Jeans, 2002.

Awards, Honors: Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture-drama, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture-drama, International Press Academy, Image Award, outstanding lead actor in a motion picture, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1998, all for Amistad; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by the cast of a theatrical motion picture, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite supporting actor—action, 2001, both for Gladiator; San Diego Film Critics Society Award, best supporting actor, 2003, Academy Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, Independent Spirit Award, best supporting male, Independent Features Project, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, Golden Satellite Award, best performance by an actor in a supporting role—drama, International Press Academy, Image Award, outstanding lead actor in a motion picture, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Black Reel Award, film—best supporting actor, 2004, all for In America; ShoWest Award, supporting actor of the year, National Association of Theatre Owners, 2004.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Ex-boyfriend, Without You I'm Nothing, M.C.E.G., 1990.

(As Djimon) Prisoner on bench, Unlawful Entry, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1992.

(As Djimon) Horus, Stargate (also known as Stargate, la porte des etoiles), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1994.

Cinque, Amistad, DreamWorks, 1997.

Fyah, Ill Gotten Gains (also known as Prisoner on Beach), Spats Films, 1997.

(As Dijmon Housoun) The Small Hours, 1997.

Vivo, Deep Rising (also known as Tentacle), Buena Vista, 1998.

Himself, The Making of "Amistad" (documentary short), DreamWorks, 1999.

Juba, Gladiator, DreamWorks, 2000.

Narrator (U.S. version), Passage de milieu (also known as The Middle Passage), 2000.

Marshall, The Tag (short), 2001.

Detective Youssouf, Le Boulet (also known as Dead Weight), Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment, 2002.

Abou Fatma, The Four Feathers, Paramount, 2002.

Meteo, In America, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2002.

Mystery man, Heroes (short), 2002.

Motherland, Biker Boyz, DreamWorks, 2003.

Kosa, Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (also known as Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Die wiege des lebens), Paramount, 2003.

Himself, Inside the Industry (documentary), 2003.

Woodhead, Blueberry (also known as Blueberry: L'experience secrete and Renegade), Columbia TriStar, 2004.

Himself, Strength and Honor: Creating the World of "Gladiator" (documentary), DreamWorks, 2005.

Midnite, Constantine, Warner Bros., 2005.

Joe, Beauty Shop, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2005.

Albert Laurent, The Island, Warner Bros., 2005.

Ajihad, Eragon, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2006.

Television Appearances; Series:

Mobalage Ekabo, ER, NBC, 1998–99.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Presenter, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, 1998.

The 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Thrills: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies, CBS, 2001.

3rd Annual DVD Exclusive Awards, FX Channel, 2003.

Presenter, The 9th Annual Critics' Choice Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.

Presenter, The 56th Annual Writers Guild Awards, Starz, 2004.

The 35th Annual NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2004.

The 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, TNT, 2004.

Presenter, The 2004 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, Independent Film Channel, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

(As Djimon) Doorman, "Class of Beverly Hills," Beverly Hills, 90210, Fox, 1990.

The Oprah Winfrey Show, syndicated, 1997.

Himself, "Amistad," HBO First Look, HBO, 1997.

Himself, "Gladiator," HBO First Look, HBO, 2000.

Victor Onuka, "Games People Play," Soul Food, Showtime, 2001.

The Daily Show (also known as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Global Edition), Comedy Central, 2002.

Kazari Bomani, "Reprecussions," Alias, ABC, 2003.

Kazari Bomani, "The Frame," Alias, ABC, 2004.

Kazari Bomani, "Unveiled," Alias, ABC, 2004.

106 & Park Top 10 Live (also known as 106 & Park), Black Entertainment Television, 2005.

Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2005.

RECORDINGS

Music Videos:

Appeared in Janet Jackson's "Love Will Never Do Without You," 1992, Steve Winwood's "Roll With It," Madonna's "Express Yourself," C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," En Vogue's "Hold On," and Paula Abdul's "Straight Up."

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 45, Gale, 2004.

Periodicals:

Detroit Free Press, December 8, 1997.

Entertainment Weekly, February 6, 2004, p. 62; June 24, 2005, p. 70.

Essence, April, 2005, p. 126.

The Guardian, February 12, 1998, p. T8.

The Independent, February 27, 1998, p. S5.

New York Times, December 7, 1997, p. AR17.

People Weekly, January 12, 1998, p. 151.

USA Today, December 9, 1997, pp. D1-D2.

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"Hounsou, Djimon 1964–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hounsou, Djimon 1964–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hounsou-djimon-1964-1

"Hounsou, Djimon 1964–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hounsou-djimon-1964-1