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
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. Hes attained major
star power through movies like Amistad,
In America and Blood Diamond, and has earned a true place in Hollywood.
role - besides that of Kimora Lees 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.
AllHipHop.com: 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 its a makeup of the main actor
(Sean Faris). Its 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.
AllHipHop.com: 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
AllHipHop.com: 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.
AllHipHop.com: Is there a role out there you are yearning
Djimon: Well, there are a lot of roles and characters I
havent played yet. Specifically, I dont know. You know once you see it. There
are other projects that Im working, two or three, that youll come to find out
AllHipHop.com: Youre 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.
AllHipHop.com: 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.
AllHipHop.com: Homeless in Paris for so long, was there
ever a time you thought youd 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 its 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 dont lose
sight of that.
AllHipHop.com: It seems youve 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. Thats more of the career that
I wanted and liked. Yeah, definitely acting.
AllHipHop.com: Youre 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.
AllHipHop.com: Youre 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
AllHipHop.com: Its obvious that youre 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. Im not a movie star to my kids so
AllHipHop.com: Weve seen the pictures and heard the
speculation, so Im going to ask you directly Is it true that you and Ms.
Kimora Lee are expecting your first child together?
Djimon: No comment! [laughs]
youre 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.
AllHipHop.com: Youve achieved so much but are there any
goals you set for yourself that you have not yet achieved?
Djimon: Im working on em. [laughs] Its a challenge,
but Im working on em.
Never Back Down