DJIMON HOUNSOU is a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor for his work in the films In America and Blood Diamond. Hounsou was honored with an NAACP Image Award, a National Board of Review citation and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his role as Solomon Vandy in Blood Diamond. For his role as Mateo in In America, Hounsou won an Independent Spirit Award, was named the 2004 ShoWest Supporting Actor of the Year and shared in a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Cast Performance. He recently completed work for Julie Taymor's screen adaptation of The Tempest with Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina and Chris Cooper.
Born in Benin, West Africa, Hounsou moved to Paris at the age of 13 to get a better education. As an adult, he was discovered by fashion designer Thierry Mugler and then worked with legendary photographer Herb Ritts. Hounsou was subsequently spotted by director David Fincher, who cast him in several music videos. Small film roles followed before Hounsou’s breakthrough role came in 1997 as Cinque, the African who leads an uprising to regain his freedom in Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Amistad. The performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination and a NAACP Image Award. He later shared in a SAG Award nomination as a member of the cast of Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning Best Picture, Gladiator.
Hounsou has also starred in Michael Bay's futuristic action film The Island, with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson; the thriller Constantine, with Keanu Reeves; and the comedy Beauty Shop, starring Queen Latifah. Other film credits include Jan de Bont’s Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, starring Angelina Jolie; and Shekhar Kapur’s The Four Feathers, with Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson.
For television, Hounsou will voice The Black Panther in the upcoming BET animated series based on the Marvel comic. He also had a memorable six-episode arc as an African refugee, seeking asylum on the drama series “ER” and played a recurring role on the series “Alias,” starring Jennifer Garner.