Djimon Hounsou: Man Of Distinction

Discovered on the rugged streets of Paris, France, African-born

Djimon Hounsou was one never to give up on his dreams. He lived life homeless before

his modeling and acting dreams became a reality - first through runway work;

then through music videos for the likes of Madonna and Janet Jackson; and ultimately

through film.

Now, with almost two decades in the entertainment

business, Djimon has been widely recognized for his acting ability, and is

still in demand the modeling world for his splendid physique. He’s attained major

star power through movies like Amistad,

In America and Blood Diamond, and has earned a true place in Hollywood.

His new

role - besides that of Kimora Lee’s beau - is in the action film Never Back Down, slated for release on March

14. We spoke with Djimon to discuss the challenging work in

his new film, his strong will to believe in dreams and his new love. In your new film Never Back Down you play a Mixed Martial Arts instructor. Describe the

impact your character has in the film?

Djimon Hounsou: I think it’s a makeup of the main actor

(Sean Faris). It’s going to reflect a little bit of my [personal] past as well,

in that I have not dealt with it. Also, in the sense of what happened to my

life, and how I propelled to be instrumental to men and women in terms of

teaching them to learn how to deal with themselves and their own adversities. This is an action-packed film. How often

did you have to train to get prepared physically?

Djimon: Well, I trained for about two months before we

began shooting. I consulted with a lot of people. I went around to different

Martial Arts schools and different teachers. It was grueling, and definitely

very demanding. You really have to have a sorta mental toughness to survive

it. When people leave the movie theater, what

lesson or feeling will they walk away with?

Djimon: Face your past. Deal with your past so you can

move forward. Right or wrong, acknowledge it and know that you are responsible

no matter what. You are responsible

for the outcome of anything that happens to you. Is there a role out there you are yearning

to play?

Djimon: Well, there are a lot of roles and characters I

haven’t played yet. Specifically, I don’t know. You know once you see it. There

are other projects that I’m working, two or three, that you’ll come to find out

about. You’re a natural talent in front of the

camera. Will you ever go behind the camera and direct, produce or even write a


Djimon: To direct? As of now, no. Developing and

producing a story, definitely, yes. Patience, discipline, willingness and

reason within to succeed are characteristics that define the main character

Jake (Sean Faris). How do these characteristics relate to your success?

Djimon: Dedication and toughness, and never giving up on

your dreams are huge. I learned everybody and everything has its timing. You

must be patient and learn the craft. Getting what you want has a lot to do with

how you work on all the other areas, and how bad you want it. Homeless in Paris for so long, was there

ever a time you thought you’d live the rest of your life on the streets? If

not, what kept your dream going?

Djimon: Every single day occurrences are enough to

discourage you from your dream or cause you to doubt your dream. So it’s a

never-ending adjustment to yourself and the goals you have set for yourself.

You must keep working and stay refreshed, and keep in mind that you don’t lose

sight of that. It seems you’ve gone back to your modeling

roots [with Calvin Klein]. If you were only able to choose one career, modeling

or acting, which would you choose?

Djimon: Definitely acting. That’s more of the career that

I wanted and liked. Yeah, definitely acting. You’re such a success story. What advice

would you give to others?

Djimon: Dream big. Just have big dreams. You should never

allow anyone to talk you out of your dreams or discourage you. You’re now a Global Ambassador for Oxfam,

are there any other causes you strongly support?

Djimon: There are so many organizations and so much to do,

but you can only follow one and hope to make a change and be instrumental and affect

one’s life. It’s obvious that you’re dating Ms. Kimora

Lee. How do you balance

both your busy careers with your relationship?

Djimon: Well, the work is one thing, and once the work is

done you become the family man. I’m not a movie star to my kids so… We’ve seen the pictures and heard the

speculation, so I’m going to ask you directly… Is it true that you and Ms.

Kimora Lee are expecting your first child together?

Djimon: No comment! [laughs] If

you’re not acting or modeling, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Djimon: I like to chill with the family. I love traveling

overseas, different cultures. I love getting on my motorcycle and riding away. You’ve achieved so much but are there any

goals you set for yourself that you have not yet achieved?

Djimon: I’m working on ‘em. [laughs] It’s a challenge,

but I’m working on ‘em.

Never Back Down

movie trailer