Djimon Hounsou
Hounsou at the 2016 WonderCon
Djimon Gaston Hounsou

(1964-04-24) April 24, 1964 (age 57)
Cotonou, Dahomey (present-day Cotonou, Benin)
  • Benin
  • United States
OccupationActor, model
Years active1986–present
Partner(s)Kimora Lee Simmons (2007–2012)

Djimon Gaston Hounsou (/ˈmən ˈns/;[1] French: [dʒimɔ̃ unsu]; born April 24, 1964)[2] is a Beninese-American actor and model. He began his career appearing in music videos. He made his film debut in Without You I'm Nothing (1990) and earned widespread recognition for his role as Cinqué in the Steven Spielberg film Amistad (1997). He gained further recognition for his roles in Gladiator (2000), In America (2003), and Blood Diamond (2006), receiving Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nominations for both the latter films. He also played an antagonist in Furious 7 (2015). He has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. He plays an important role as well in the French film Forces spéciales (2011).

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he portrays Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Captain Marvel (2019) and the second episode of What If...? (2021). In the DC Extended Universe, he appears as the Fisherman King in Aquaman (2018), and as the wizard Shazam in Shazam! (2019) and the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023). He plays Papa Midnite in another DC movie, Constantine (2005).

Early life

Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook.[3] He emigrated to Lyon in France at the age of 12[4] with his brother, Edmond. Soon after arriving there, he dropped out of school and was homeless for a time. A chance meeting with a photographer led to an introduction to fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who encouraged Hounsou to pursue a modeling career.[2] In 1987, he became a model and established a career in Paris. He moved to the United States in 1990.[3][5]



Hounsou at Final DipCon Opening Reception
Hounsou at Final DipCon Opening Reception

Between 1989 and 1991, Hounsou appeared in the music videos for "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul, "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" by Janet Jackson, and Madonna's "Express Yourself".[6][7] He also appears in En Vogue's music video for "Hold On".

Hounsou's film debut was in the 1990 Sandra Bernhard film Without You I'm Nothing. He had television parts on Beverly Hills, 90210 and ER and a guest starring role on Alias. He had a larger role in the science fiction film Stargate.[2]

Hounsou received wide critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award nomination for his role as Cinqué in the 1997 Steven Spielberg film Amistad, and gained further notice as Juba in the 2000 film Gladiator.[2] In 2004, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In America, making him the fourth African male to be nominated for an Oscar. In 2005 he played a mercenary in the movie The Island alongside Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. In 2006 he won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Blood Diamond, and received Broadcast Film Critics Association, Screen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award nominations for this performance.[2][8][unreliable source?]

Hounsou had a supporting role in the 2009 science-fiction film Push, as Agent Henry Carver.[9] In 2011, he starred as a French commando in the French film Forces spéciales.[10]

Director Tim Story told IGN that if he were to do a third Fantastic Four film, he would like to have Hounsou as Black Panther.[11] In November 2008, it was announced that Hounsou would provide the voice of Black Panther in the television series of the same name.[12] He had signed on to play Abdiel in the film version of John Milton's Paradise Lost with Benjamin Walker and Bradley Cooper, but the film was scrapped in early February 2012.[13]

In 2013, he appeared in the comedy film Baggage Claim alongside Paula Patton. He also voiced Drago Blodfist in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and portrayed Korath the Pursuer in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, both in 2014.[14][15] He played villains in two 2015 films, Seventh Son and Furious 7, the seventh installment of The Fast and the Furious film series, the latter where he played the role of Mose Jakande, a Nigerian-French mercenary.[16]

On 17 February 2016, it was reported that Hounsou would join the second season of the television series Wayward Pines.[17] Also in 2016, he played Chief Mbonga in The Legend of Tarzan movie.[18]

In July 2018, Hounsou joined the DC Extended Universe, voicing the Fisherman King Ricou in Aquaman (with the character motion-captured by Andrew Crawford), and replacing Ron Cephas Jones as the Wizard Shazam in Shazam! (2019).[19][20] Also in 2019, he reprised his role as Korath in the Marvel Studios film Captain Marvel and the animated series What If...?. He will reprise his role as the wizard Shazam in Shazam! Fury of the Gods.[21]


On 24 February 2007, it was announced that Hounsou would be the new Calvin Klein underwear model. At the time, he was represented by Los Angeles modeling agent Omar Albertto.[22][23]

Other work

In 2010, Hounsou was featured as the narrator in ESPN's series of "32 Teams, 1 Dream" commercials for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He spoke at the Summit on Climate Change at the United Nations on 22 September 2009.[24] On 1 December 2009, he told French media that developed countries "need to be held accountable" for their contribution to climate change.[25]

Personal life

In 2007, Hounsou began dating model Kimora Lee Simmons.[26] In 2009, Simmons gave birth to their son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou.[27] Hounsou and Simmons visited Hounsou's family in his native Benin in the summer of 2008, where the two participated in a traditional commitment ceremony. They were adorned in traditional clothing and used the ceremony, in the presence of Hounsou's family, to confirm that they were "dedicated to each other 100%", although they emphasized the ceremony was not a wedding. In the début of Kimora Lee Simmons' show Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, he was billed as her husband.[28] Hounsou and Simmons, who were never legally married in the United States, announced their separation in November 2012.[29]



Year Title Role Director Notes
1990 Without You I’m Nothing Ex-Boyfriend John S. Boskovich
1992 Unlawful Entry Prisoner On Bench Jonathan Kaplan
1993 Killing Zoe Moïse (voice) Roger Avary
1994 Stargate Horus Roland Emmerich Credited as "Djimon"
1997 Ill Gotten Gains Fyah Joel B. Marsden
Amistad Joseph Cinqué Steven Spielberg
1998 Deep Rising Vivo Stephen Sommers
2000 Gladiator Juba Ridley Scott
2002 Le Boulet Detective Youssouf Alain Berbérian
The Four Feathers Abou Fatma Shekhar Kapur
2003 In America Mateo Jim Sheridan
Biker Boyz 'Motherland' Reggie Rock Bythewood
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life Kosa Jan de Bont
2004 Blueberry Woodhead Jan Kounen
2005 Constantine Papa Midnite Francis Lawrence
Beauty Shop Joe Bille Woodruff
The Island Albert Laurent Michael Bay
2006 Blood Diamond Solomon Vandy Edward Zwick
Eragon Ajihad Stefen Fangmeier
2008 Never Back Down Jean Roqua Jeff Wadlow
2009 Push Henry Carver Paul McGuigan
2010 The Tempest Caliban Julie Taymor
2011 Elephant White Curtis 'Curtie' Church Prachya Pinkaew
Special Forces Kovax Stéphane Rybojad
2013 Baggage Claim Quinton Jamison David E. Talbert
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Drago Bludvist (voice) Dean DeBlois
Guardians of the Galaxy Korath James Gunn
Seventh Son Radu Sergei Bodrov
2015 Furious 7 Mose Jakande James Wan
The Vatican Tapes Vicar Imani Mark Neveldine
Air Cartwright Christian Cantamessa
2016 The Legend of Tarzan Chief Mbonga David Yates
2017 The Fate of the Furious Mose Jakande F. Gary Gray Photo only
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Bedivere Guy Ritchie
Same Kind of Different as Me Denver Michael Carney
2018 Aquaman Fisherman King Ricou James Wan
In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven Narrator Djimon Hounsou Also co-writer
2019 Serenity Duke Steven Knight
Captain Marvel Korath Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Shazam! The Wizard David F. Sandberg
Charlie's Angels Edgar 'Bosley' Dessange Elizabeth Banks
2020 A Quiet Place Part II Man On Island John Krasinski
2021 The King's Man Shola Matthew Vaughn
2022 Blazing Samurai Sumo (voice) Chris Bailey Post-production
2023 Shazam! Fury of the Gods The Wizard David F. Sandberg Post-production
Marriage Beakward, Karlos' Big Brother (voice) Pierre Coffin In development


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Beverly Hills, 90210 Doorman Episode: "Class of Beverly Hills"
1999 ER Mobalage Ikabo 6 episodes
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Villager (voice) Episode: "Luck Be an Aye-Aye"
2001 Soul Food Victor Onuka Episode: "Games People Play"
2003–2004 Alias Kazari Bomani 3 episodes
2010 Black Panther T'Challa / Black Panther (voice) 6 episodes
2016 Wayward Pines CJ Mitchum 8 episodes
2018 DreamWorks Dragons Drago Bludvist (voice) Episode: "King of Dragons, Part 2"
2019 The Longest Day in Chang'an Master Ge Episode: "Time Of Great Waste"
2021 Invincible Martian Emperor (voice) Episode: "Neil Armstrong, Eat Your Heart Out"
2021 What If...? Korath (voice) Episode: "What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?"

Video Games

Year Title Role Notes
2020 NBA 2K21 Coach Henry Bishop Also motion capture

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2004 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor In America Nominated
2007 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Nominated
2004 Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actor In America Won
2007 Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Won
2007 Broadcast Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Nominated
1998 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Drama Amistad Nominated
2004 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male In America Won
1998 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Amistad Won
2004 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor In America Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Won
2006 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Won[30]
2001 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Gladiator Nominated
2004 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture In America Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Blood Diamond Nominated[31]

See also


  1. ^ Hounsou, Djimon (May 26, 2016). "Tonight at 9/8c on #foxtv #waywardpines". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Djimon Hounsou: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Djimon Hounsou Biography (1964-)". Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "Daily Show". Comedy Central. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Djimon Hounsou Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  6. ^ "Straight Up". Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "Love Will Never Do Without You". Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  8. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Awards". IMDb. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "Push Djimon Hounsou Interview". Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  10. ^ "Djimon Hounsou and Diane Kruger's SPECIAL FORCES Explodes onto Blu-ray & DVD in February". January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "Story talks black panther". May 8, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Roars as the Black Panther".
  13. ^ "Legendary Pulls Plug on Bradley Cooper's 'Paradise Lost'". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 February 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  14. ^ "Alan Taylor Offers New 'Thor 2′ Details; Djimon Hounsou on 'Guardians of the Galaxy'". Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Guardians of the Galaxy". July 20, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  16. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Joins Fast & Furious 7". 12 September 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  17. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (February 17, 2016). "Djimon Hounsou cast in 'Wayward Pines' season 2". Variety. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  18. ^;_ylu=X3oDMTBya2cwZmh2BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwM1BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1579417025/RO=10/
  19. ^ "Exclusive: DC's 'Shazam!' casts 'Guardians' actor Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  20. ^ "Exclusive: 'Aquaman' reveals first look at the exotic Fisherman King". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  21. ^ Jirak, Jamie (July 23, 2021). "Shazam! Fury of the Gods Set Photo Reveals Return of Surprising Actor". Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  22. ^ "Omar Albertto on FASHION NET". Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  23. ^ "Calvin Klein's New Brief Boy". February 23, 2007. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  24. ^ NPR[dead link]
  25. ^ "Developed countries need to be held accountable". 2009-12-02. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  26. ^ Slonim, Jeffrey (November 15, 2012). "Russell Simmons Okay with Kimora & Djimon". People. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  27. ^ "'Life in the Fab Lane' star Kimora Lee Simmons gives birth to baby boy". Reality TV World. June 1, 2009. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  28. ^ "Kimora Lee Simmons, Djimon Hounsou Had Commitment Ceremony". 2009-03-09. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  29. ^ Jordan, Julie (November 21, 2012). "Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou Separate". People. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  30. ^ "Winners: National Board Of Review". CBS News. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  31. ^ "Screen Actors Guild: The nominees". Retrieved September 19, 2015.