Djimon Hounsou's Fight for Recognition in Hollywood

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the actor opened up about his journey to become a Hollywood star and the struggles he faced along the way.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Djimon Hounsou's Fight for Recognition in Hollywood

Despite a career that spans 33 years and includes two Oscar nominations for "In America" and "Blood Diamond," as well as prominent roles in blockbuster films such as "Furious 7" and "Shazam!" and collaborations with renowned directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott, Djimon Hounsou still feels underpaid and underappreciated in Hollywood.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the actor opened up about his journey to become a Hollywood star and the struggles he faced along the way.

From Dreams to Reality

Hounsou's journey to Hollywood began with a dream that was "just so big." Despite not speaking a word of English, he traveled to America to pursue his acting ambitions.

At the time, his brother was "just barely surviving" and Hounsou was often left on his own, living in a tiny room with "no shower and no bathroom." Despite these difficulties, he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 22, determined to make his dream a reality.

However, Hounsou's limited English proved to be a challenge. A visiting friend mocked his Hollywood ambitions, telling him, "‘Acting? But you realise you don’t speak the language?’" The comment was a "slap in [his] face," and from that point on, he refused to tell anyone about his dreams.

Struggling for Recognition and Fair Compensation

Despite his success and numerous accolades, Hounsou still feels like he is struggling to make a living in Hollywood. "I’ve come up in the business with some people who are absolutely well off and have very little of my accolades," he said.

"So I feel cheated, tremendously cheated, in terms of finances and in terms of the workload as well." Hounsou also spoke about the limited perception that some people have of him in Hollywood. He shared that during studio meetings, he has been told that "they felt like you just got off the boat and then went back [after Amistad].

We didn’t know you were here as a true actor." This limiting perception is something that he is determined to change, saying, "It’s up to me to redeem that."

Returning to the Big Screen

Despite the challenges he has faced, Hounsou continues to act and is set to return to the big screen soon as a wizard in the action-adventure film "Shazam!

Fury of the Gods." In this sequel, his supporting role has been greatly expanded compared to the first film in the franchise, "Shazam!" For his work in the 2016 film "Blood Diamond," Hounsou received a nomination for Supporting Actor from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and his co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, was nominated for Leading Actor, despite the film being equally focused on both characters.

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