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Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Thor 2 cropped.png
In 2013
Born (1967-08-22) 22 August 1967 (age 56)
London, England
Other names Adewalé, Triple A
Alma mater King's College London
University of London International Programme
Occupation Actor dancer
Years active 1994–present

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (/ˌædɪˈwɒli ˌækɪˈnɔɪ æɡˈbɑː/; Yoruba: [ādéwálé ākĩ́nùójè āɡ͡bádʒé]; born 22 August 1967) is a British actor known for his roles as Simon Adebisi in Oz, Mr. Eko in Lost, Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns, Nykwana Wombosi in The Bourne Identity, Heavy Duty in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Kurse in Thor: The Dark World, Killer Croc in Suicide Squad, Malko in the fifth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones, Dave Duerson in the NFL biopic drama Concussion, and Ogunwe in His Dark Materials.

Akinnuoye-Agbaje's feature directorial debut, Farming, wrapped production in 2017 and had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Early life and education

Akinnuoye-Agbaje was born in Islington, London, to Nigerian parents of Yoruba origin, who were students in the UK. When he was six weeks old, his biological parents gave him up to a white working-class family in Tilbury, Essex. His foster parents had at least ten African children, including Akinnuoye-Agbaje's two sisters, living in their house at certain points. His foster father made a living as a lorry driver and struggled to support the family financially.

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Red Cross benefit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, 28 February 2007

When he was eight years old, his biological parents brought him back to Nigeria but, as he was unable to speak the Yoruba language and unable to assimilate, he was returned to Tilbury shortly thereafter. The brief exposure to Nigeria left him struggling to reconcile his heritage with the distinctly British culture and environment he was raised in. As a young boy, he was subject to continual racial abuse in the white neighbourhood he grew up. After enduring repeated physical attacks by local skinheads, he earned their respect by standing up to them and eventually aligned forces with them. At 16 years old, his birth parents sent him to a boarding school in Surrey where he gravitated to his studies and ultimately transformed his life.

He went on to earn his Bachelor's from the University of London at large and subsequently a Master's in Law from King's College London. While a university student, Akinnuoye-Agbaje worked in a clothes shop where he was introduced to the world of modelling. On March 17, 2017, he was awarded an Honorary PhD by Princess Anne, Chancellor of the University of London.

Career

Akinnuoye-Agbaje's modelling career led him to Hollywood, where he began his acting career with a 1995 role in Congo.

His best-known acting roles have been as the imposing convict Simon Adebisi in the 1990s HBO prison series Oz and as Mr. Eko on ABC's survivor drama Lost. Film roles include The Bourne Identity, in which he played a deposed African dictator, Hitu the police officer in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns, and Heavy Duty in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He was also featured in the video for singer-songwriter Grayson Hugh's hit "Talk It Over", which was in heavy rotation in 1989 on MTV and VH-1.

In 2009, Akinnuoye-Agbaje was in talks with Marvel Studios to play the superhero Black Panther in a proposed film of the same name. In an interview, he stated his excitement about the possibility, saying that "the timing is so right" for a black superhero, and "while I'm in my prime, this is the time... I'm going to keep knocking on their door." In 2014 Marvel did announce a Black Panther film, though with Chadwick Boseman in the title role.

He guest starred in the second episode of season 8 of Monk, and played Derek Jameson in the 2011 film The Thing. He portrayed Kurse in the Marvel Studios film Thor: The Dark World. He portrayed the character Malko in the fifth season of Game of Thrones. In 2015 it was reported that Akinnuoye-Abaje voices the lead character of Bilal, a film about the life of Bilal Ibn Rabah set to be released in the second half of the year. In 2016, he co-starred in the DC Comics film Suicide Squad, as the Batman villain Killer Croc.

In 2012, Akinnuoye-Agbaje stated that he had been developing a film about his life story, which he also planned to direct. The film is called Farming, in reference to the practise of Nigerian parents "farming out" their children to white UK families. In May 2017, he announced that casting on the film had begun with Damson Idris in the lead role as Enitan, Kate Beckinsale playing his abusive, neglectful foster mother and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as his teacher and mentor. The film went on to win the Michael Powell Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival for Best British Feature and Best Performance in a British Feature for Idris.

In 2021, Akinnuoye-Agbaje narrated an immersive audiovisual tour for the Roman Colosseum written by Simon Scarrow for the BARDEUM mobile app.

Personal life

Akinnuoye-Agbaje lives in Los Angeles. He is a Nichiren Buddhist and a member of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist association.

Akinnuoye-Agbaje asked to be written off Lost, citing a desire to return to London after his foster parents' deaths and to direct a film there. He is a supporter of Arsenal F.C.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Congo Kahega Credited as Adewalé
Delta of Venus The Clairvoyant
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls Hitu
1998 Legionnaire Luther deadly voyage 1996
2001 The Mummy Returns Lock-Nah
Lip Service Sebastion
2002 Bourne Identity, TheThe Bourne Identity Nykwana Wombosi
2004 Unstoppable Agent Junod
2005 Mistress of Spices, TheThe Mistress of Spices Kwesi
Preaching to the Choir Bull Sharky
Get Rich or Die Tryin' Majestic
2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Heavy Duty
2010 Faster The Evangelist
2011 Killer Elite The Agent
Thing, TheThe Thing Derek Jameson
2012 Best Laid Plans Joseph
2013 Bullet to the Head Morel
Thor: The Dark World Algrim the Strong / Kurse
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete Pike
2014 Pompeii Atticus
Annie Nash
2015 Trumbo Virgil Brooks Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Concussion Dave Duerson
2016 Bilal Bilal Voice role
Suicide Squad Waylon Jones / Killer Croc
2017 Wetlands Detective Babel "Babs" Johnson
2018 Farming Femi Also director
2022 Marlowe Cedric
TBA Our Man from Jersey Filming

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Red Shoe Diaries Davis Bateman Episode: "Written Word"
1995 New York Undercover Cliff Ramsey Episode: "Downtown Girl"
1996 Screen Two Emmanuel Episode: "Deadly Voyage"
1997 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Cabe Attucks 2 episodes
Cracker: Mind Over Murder John Doe Episode: "Madwoman"
Pensacola: Wings of Gold Ambassador Odeku Episode: "Fallout"
1997–2000 Oz Simon Adebisi Guest role (season 1); recurring role (season 2); main role (seasons 3-4)
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
1998 Linc's Winston Iwelu Episode: "Gangsta Rap"
2000 Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble Joe Television film
2005–2006 Lost Mr. Eko Main role (seasons 2–3)
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
2009 Monk Samuel Waingaya Episode: "Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man"
2011 Strike Back: Project Dawn Tahir 2 episodes
2012 Hunted Deacon Crane Main role
2015 American Odyssey Frank Majors Main role
Major Lazer Major Lazer/Evil Lazer Main voice role
Game of Thrones Malko Episodes: "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", "The Gift"
2017–2019 Tangled: The Series Xavier the Blacksmith Recurring voice role, 7 episodes
2017 Tour de Pharmacy Olusegun Okorocha Television film
Ten Days in the Valley John Bird 10 episodes
2018 Watership Down Vervain Miniseries; main voice role
2019 The Fix Sevvy Johnson Main role
2020 Moominvalley The Hobgoblin Voice role; 2 episodes
2020 Centaurworld Johnny Teatime Episode: "Johnny Teatime's Be Best Competition: A Quest for the Sash"
2022 His Dark Materials Commander Ogunwe Main role; season 3
2023 My Dad the Bounty Hunter Emperor Odoman Voice

Music videos

  • "Talk It Over" – Grayson Hugh (1989)
  • "Jealousy" – Pet Shop Boys (1991)
  • "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" – En Vogue (1992)
  • "Love No Limit" – Mary J. Blige (1993)
  • "I Want It All Night Long" – Heather Hunter (1993)
  • "You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)" – Dawn Penn (1994)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje para niños

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