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It’s been 20 years since Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, an epic tale of slaves in revolt, sailed into theaters. Djimon Hounsou was a relatively unknown actor at the time, but his performance in the film launched his career and even earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
Hounsou recently stopped by EW: The Show to talk about his new film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and briefly revisited his star-making role, telling host Lola Ogunnaike about the challenges of portraying a character with a difficult command of English, and how Spielberg’s deft direction helped him capture the memorable scene in which he demands his freedom — in only two takes.
The pair also discussed the strides that Africans in Hollywood have made since the time Hounsou started out: “The more you see, it would almost indicate that there’s maybe a little more for us to bite on, as far as work is concerned,” the actor said.
Hounsou’s latest film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, is in theaters now.