Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - 197 - 13 Ways to Admire Djimon Hounsou

1 - Actor Djimon Hounsou not only portrays heroes on the big screen, but works for social and ecological justice off screen.

2 - Djimon most recently appeared as Caliban in Julie Taymor's film version of The Tempest.

6' 3"

Eyes - Brown

Hair - Black

Type - Athletic / Mid 40's

He works as an actor / Social issues activist / Eco-warrior

Works in television / Film

3 - Djimon grew up in Cotonou, in Benin, West Africa where French is commonly spoken. At 13 he was sent to live with his older brother in Lyons, France in order to attend school.

Was discovered by fashion designer Thierry Muglar and worked steadily as a model (1980s)

Appeared in music videos for:

Madonna (Express Yourself)
Steve Winwood (Roll With It)
Paula Abdul (Straight Up)
Janet Jackson (Love Will Never Do Without You) - (late 1980s/early 1990s)

Moved into acting roles, including a recurring role on ER and in films like Stargate (1994)

Next photo is straying into Not Safe For Work territory...

4 - Djimon keeps in tiptop shape, at first for his modelling career, then for the stunt work required of roles in action dramas like Blood Diamond.

5 - No matter how delicious Mr. Hounsou may be, he's strictly eye candy, ladies - he belongs to his partner of four years, Missouri-born-and-bred former model and fashion executive Kimora Lee Simmons.

6 - Djimon first appeared on my radar when he played Juba in Ridley Scott's Gladiator. I love how he's literally got Russell Crowe's back in this sequence.

7 - But Djimon can give the gray characters a spin every now and then, like Midnite in Constantine.

The proprietor of a nightclub which serves the figures of Heaven and Hell, Midnite has a foot in both.

Somehow, Djimon can make pimp suits much cooler than they ought to be.

8 - Remember my soft spot for a man in chains?


Amistad provides a rather intense version.

9 - For the most part, Djimon plays seriously shiny heroes.

When it comes to his personal heroic figures, he looks to Nelson Mandela for inspiration (Kam Williams interview.)

10 - Two-time Academy Award nominee Djimon has worked with many top directors during his film career, including the brilliant Julie Taymor for The Tempest.

"Taymor saves the absolute best for last: Prospera’s leave-taking of Caliban (Djimon Hounsou), a static and silent moment, is a brilliant cinematic equivalent for aporia [a seemingly insoluable impasse,] a real and painful doubt about the possibility of a resolution to the conflict between them, and the underlying issues of race and culture, that the play sets up." - Richard Brody, The New Yorker

11 - Of course, Djimon is an awesome crier.

CLICK HERE to watch a clip from Blood Diamond

12 - When he's not on set waiting for the director to call 'Action!' Djimon doesn't hesitate to act on behalf of others.

In 2008 he appeared on Capital Hill in Washington, D.C. to lobby for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which provides funding to local organizations addressing the needs of America's homeless youth.

"Due to the lack of systems and support [for homeless youth in Paris,] or not knowing how to find people, only made matters worse [for Djimon who lived on the streets for a time during his teen years.] He spent nights in juvenile services as a means to survive.

'I understand that some of the things you go through, it's not just about you,' Djimon said to 9 News Now. 'Some of the pain that is inflicted upon you, mostly does not have to do with you.'

The actor says that today he is most grateful for the experience. 'All the experiences I've gone through, good or bad, they are all a great stepping stone for you to discover yourself.' " - Lauren Vance, WUSA9

13 - But why stop at Capital Hill if one has something to say about a passionate cause?

Djimon spoke at the United Nations in 2009 on behalf of climate change.


Rasmenia said...

I loved him so much in 'Gladiator' & in 'Blood Diamond'. He really is an excellent actor.

Heh heh... best line in this post: "For the most part, Djimon plays seriously shiny heroes." Made me giggle. ;)


Melissa Bradley said...

I love Djimon! He's such a great person in addition to being a great actor. I wish he had more film roles because I think he doesn't work nearly enough. Thanks for this post, you warmed up my frigid Thursday. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for educating me about someone I've seen in movies (Gladiator and Blood Diamond) but knew nothing "real" concerning him. I will certainly be paying attention in the future when I see his name.

Mary Quast said...

What an amazing man (sexy too). A great role model as well. Happy TT.

Jennie Marsland said...

Seriously shiny heroes. Love it, especially since he's also an amazing human being.


Akelamalu said...

Of course I've seen him in Gladiator and Blood Diamond but didn't know much about him, so thanks for the info.

Jennifer Leeland said...

I've seen him in all those movies except The Tempest!
What a great TT, Julia!!!