Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Djimon Hounsou reflects on biggest challenges of 25-year career and ‘redemption’ of DC role
Djimon Hounsou has reflected on his part in Shazam! Fury of the Gods as ‘redeeming’ some of the hardship he’s gone through with challenging roles – as well as a challenge to get roles – in his 25-year-plus Hollywood career.
Born in Benin, West Africa, the 58-year-old actor was sent to France as a boy and first started his career as a model and dancer in music videos for artists like Tina Turner and Janet Jackson after moving to LA while barely speaking any English.
After a few bit parts in the 1990s, including in Stargate with James Spader and Kurt Russell, Hounsou got his big break in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad as Cinque in 1997, about the 1839 revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish-owned ship off the coast of Long Island.
Since then he’s garnered two Academy Award nominations – for In America and Blood Diamond, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio – and appeared in movies including Gladiator, The Tempest, Furious 7 and A Quiet Place Part II.
He’s also carved out a niche in blockbuster comic book adaptations, having also appeared as Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel as well as the Wizard in both Shazam! movies.
Chatting to Metro.co.uk at the London premiere for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Hounsou pondered over what he would have said to his younger self at the start of his career.
Hounsou, a two-time Oscar nominee, has been making waves in Hollywood for over 25 years (Picture: Getty)
‘Wow, it’s been 25 years? Listen, I wish I could say I did it all by myself but there’s a team and there’s also a huge need to believe in yourself and in what you’re doing, because again, time and time again – and especially when you start – you hear so many times no. “No, no, thank you, thank you but no,”’ he admitted.
‘So, you really have to stay strong, and I think films can [help you] aspire to really live out your dreams. Like [in] Shazam, your immediate family is not [necessarily] your blood family, you know, and it’s what you make of your friends that you meet when you embark on this life experience.’
The star also singled out some of his most prestigious parts, and both his Oscar-nominated performances, as the roles which have been among the greatest challenges of his career.
He had his big break in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad in 1997 (Picture: Paramount/Dreamworks)
The actor’s second Academy Award nomination came for Blood Diamond, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio (Picture: Warner Bros)
‘Well, Amistad was a challenge, my first one with Steven Spielberg was definitely a challenge. I had the luxury of working with Jim Sheridan and for what that was, it was also quite a challenge – I …read more