Blood Diamond (2006) was another big leap movie for Djimon Gaston Hounsou. According to the player of the movie’s character Solomon Vandy and Leonardo DiCaprio’s co-star, "This happened to be the most difficult film I have ever partaken in." Really because of the “…emotional content to the physicality…so mind-blowing."
Djimon Hounsou was born in a small West African village, in Benin Republic. He migrated and settled-in with family in Paris at age 13years. He started out with modelling stints and music videos appearances. His movie debut was in Without You I'm Nothing (1990). He also starred in movies, Amistad and Gladiator. French flick, Forces spéciales (Special Forces, 2011) featured Djimon prominently. An Oscar nomination in 2004, stood him out as first African born nominee, after starring in, In America.
He has been nominated for many awards: including, Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Lately in 2018 and 2019, Djimon played Fisherman King Aquaman and Shazam, wizard in Shazam; respectively. So, his role and performance in Blood Diamonds (2016) was no surprise. He, himself was really into the movies’ deep emotions "…once you leave the film to see the makeup of the people (Africans)...it was just difficult to not be affected."
Blood Diamond inspired by Sierra Leone’s bloody civil, war from 1993, is based on the peak of violence and destruction of lives and property in 1999. And the title would not have been any clearer with conflicts surrendering diamond smuggling, trading and payment for weapons that perpetuated corruption and launched the war.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Danny Archer, a South African diamond smuggler, who trades in ‘blood diamonds.’ The trade funds the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) led by Foday Sankoh (1937 –2003), disgruntled former Sierra Leonian Army corporal and television cameraman.
Born April 24, 1964 to a cook, Pierre Hounsou and Albertine, Djimon defied poverty fits his Blood Diamond character role, Solomon Vandy. Solomon, a fisherman is violently forced from their beachside community. His son also gets missing: provoking a strong emotional pain, mirrored in his drive to survive and find him.
Torn from his family, Vandy is forced to work in rebel’s commandeered diamond mines. Amidst rebel slaughtering, raping and mutilation of thousands of innocent citizens he risks his life with a prized pink diamond find. This becomes a bargain chip with greedy smuggler, DiCaprio’s role character, Danny Archer.
More so he would soon have some understanding with the movie’s journalist, Jennifer Connelly, who enables his family migrate to Europe. Of course, after a dangerous escape through rebel held territory. This is clear in Djimon Hounsou’s submission.
“Even the locations in Africa—mostly in South Africa and Mozambique—where they shot the film made for an emotional experience.”
On the whole it would seem poverty and war have blessed the Beninese-American actor, Djimon Hounsou!
Watch Blood Diamond below.