Actor Djimon Hounsou first gained acting attention in Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997). Born in West Africa, he moved with his family to Paris, France, at age 13. When he left school, he became homeless and spent a couple of years wandering the streets of Paris before being discovered by fashion designer Thierry Mugler. After he resettled himself, Hounsou moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at acting.
While on the way to stardom, Hounsou appeared in music videos, including those of Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Steve Winwood. After his turn as a rebellious slave in Amistad, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, he found increasingly steady employment on both the big and small screens, becoming a semi-regular on the hospital drama ER and appearing in such films as the historical epic Gladiator (2000). After such high-profile projects, Hounsou's success in the following two years would prove no surprise to anyone who glanced at his filmography. Aside from prominent roles in such high-profile French films as 2002's Le Boulet (Dead Weight) and the following year's Muraya -- l'Expérience Secrète de Mike Blueberry (The Adventures of Mike S. Blueberry), Hounsou's bid for screen stardom was simultaneously on display in such stateside features as The Four Feathers (2002), Biker Boyz, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider -- The Cradle of Life (both 2003).