BY: Tai Perkins
Edited By: Tai Perkins
PHOTOS BY: Marin Hamataj
"You have to that passion,
given the obstacles that you will face along the way."
The anticipation leading up to actor, writer, and director, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, coming to speak with Next Jeneration was intense. With so many iconic roles, Adewale is a legend in the film and TV world. You may know him from critically acclaimed movies such as Suicide Squad, Get Rich or Die Trying, or Annie. Hailing from London, Adewale got his start in the entertainment industry as a fashion model. Although Adewale has become a successful actor, it was no easy ride. We got a chance to dive deeper, and take a look into Adewale’s life leading up to his directorial debut of, Farming.
Next Jeneration: Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: My name is Adewale
Akinnuoye-Agbaje, triple A, and I’m an actor, writer,
director, that’s what I do- and a musician actually.
Next Jeneration: Let’s take it back to the beginning,
growing up did you always know you wanted to get
into acting and the film world?
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: No where I grew up if you
said you wanted to be an actor it was not regarded
as something good. You probably would’ve gotten
beaten up. It was a very machismo street kind of
upbringing, where you were kind of like a footballer, a
fireman or something like that. To be a creative like
that in my world/childhood- it
was not something that you told people. I never knew
that I was going to grow up to be an actor. I never
had an specific aspirations, obviously I watched movies.
I knew as a kid I wanted to be out there.
That’s how I defined it as a kid- out there.
Next Jeneration : "Out there" meaning famous?
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Yes. I know wanted to be out there, but I thought it would be music or sports. I know wanted to be out there, but I thought it would be music or sports. I didn’t go to acting school, or directing, or writing school. I kind of learned on my feet. I was very inquisitive on sets, I was fascinated with how things were put together, and so in between sets I was always with a crew talking, and that’s where I learned my love [for] directing.
Next Jeneration: You just had your directorial debut for your film, Farming, how was that?
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Funny enough it’s been a 15-year journey to getting it made to start to finish. From writing it to actually having it on the screen, it’s a huge sense of accomplishment. It is a personal story that’s based on my life, the early years- its cathartic and it’s also the voice of a forgotten generation, so it’s pretty important in British black history. I feel really proud, and there’s some spectacular performances in it.
Next Jeneration: Since you have that experience now, do you have any advice for someone who wants to be a director?
Adewale: Well I mean, this film for me is testament to anyone who has a dream- whatever your aspiring to be. I mean you will always meet obstacles and challenges.
Adewale's story is one of resilience and that strength has made him the man he is today -- a successful actor who can now add directing to his long resume. And believe me, the resume is long. His career spans decades and has found him in memorable roles like Simon Adebisi on the classic HBO show "Oz", to playing superheroes/villains in Thor, Suicide Squad, acted in The Mummy Returns, Game of Thrones and so much more.