Born on 24 April 1964 in Cotonou, the capital of Benin, Djimon Hounsou arrived in France at the age of 13 and spent his adolescence with his brothers in Lyon. Not attracted by studies, he decides very quickly to take advantage of his best asset: his body. He thus goes up to Paris and tries to break into the modeling. But the beginnings are so difficult that it happens to him to sleep in the street. It is by making his toilet in a fountain near the Center Beaubourg that he is one day spotted by a close to the couturier Thierry Mugler, who hires him as top model. He also starred in Madonna’s Express Yourself, directed by David Fincher, and Janet Jackson’s Love Will Never Do Without You
In the early 1990s, he went to Hollywood to try his luck. But again, it’s gone a few years and his appearance as a god Horus in the film Stargate, the door of stars , Roland Emmerich, in 1994, is not enough to get him out of anonymity. He had to wait until 1997 to see his career take off when he caught Steven Spielberg’s attention: ” It was Cinque ,” the filmmaker once said, evoking his test cassette sent by the casting director of Amistad . He was courageous, sympathetic, angry, he had his dignity … so many things combined. Djimon has a peace in him but a force outside, which made him perfect for this role . ”
Afterwards, he capitalizes on his impressive physique by chaining the second muscular roles, the most famous of which remains Juba, who fights in the arena next to Russell Crowe in Gladiator . His composition as a mysterious painter in In America , in 2002, allows him to expand his palette and made him the first African named to the Oscars. He also plays with Blueberry, the secret experience , with Jan Kounen (2004), with Vincent Cassel, and in Le Boulet (2002), with Gérard Lanvin, Benoît Poelvoorde and José Garcia and rises in line by giving the replica to Scarlett Johansson And Ewan McGregor in The Island (2005) and Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond in 2006.
After the stroke of slack accused by his career in 2013, it has been seen recently in two blockbusters of success, the Guardians of the galaxy and Fast and furious 7 . It will soon be found as an ecclesiastic in the film of horror The secret files of the Vatican , which leaves July 29 in France. Finally, next year he will be an indigenous leader in an umpteenth version of Tarzan and the knight of the Bédivère Round Table in a new adaptation of the legend of King Arthur in filming currently.
He also founded his production company, Belly Serpent Productions, with which he developed projects in Africa, including a biopic of Behanzin (1845-1906), a hero of anti-colonialist resistance, King of Dahomey from 1890 to 1894, who Was subsequently exiled to Martinique.
After being long rejected by his country, Djimon Hounsou is now the pride of Benin, always ready to unfold the red carpet. At 51 years old, the former SDF is at the head of a fortune of nearly 215 million euros accumulated thanks to its stamps of actor, judicious investments, a lucrative advertising contract for the cosmetics brand Covergirl or Real estate investments. It also has a football club in Cotonou and lent its name to a line of teen clothing, Hounsou Seduction, a perfume, L’eau de Djimon, and a chain of restaurants, “Chez l’gros Djimon”.
Djimon Hounsou reportedly raised $ 75 million between February 2014 and February 2015, according to the US economy magazine People with Money, which allows him to rank high on the list of the highest paid actors in the world.