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Meet The Cast Of Half Of A Yellow Sun

THANDIE NEWTON

Olanna

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Thandie Newton plays twin sister: Olanna, and wife to Chiwetel Ejiofor's character: Odenigbo. Newton made her film debut alongside Nicole Kidman in 1991’s FLIRTING. Newton gained international recognition in the Merchant Ivory production of JEFFERSON IN PARIS in which she played Jefferson’s slave, co-starring with Nick Nolte and Gwyneth Paltrow. In 1997 GRIDLOCK’D followed, in which Newton starred alongside Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth, and then Jonathan Demme's BELOVED in 1998, also with Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. In the same year, she was seen in Bernardo Bertolucci’s BESIEGED with David Thewlis, and in 2000, she was the female lead in John Woo’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II alongside Tom Cruise. She also starred in IT WAS AN ACCIDENT that year, appearing for the first time with Chiwetel Ejiofor.

 Newton won a BAFTA for Best Support Actress for her role CRASH. In 2006, she starred as Will Smith’s wife in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and the following year she played the jilted lover that Simon Pegg must win back in David Schwimmer’s RUN FATBOY RUN.

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR

Odenigbo

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor was the protagonist - playing Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's sensational TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, alongside, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. Ejiofor’s film career dates back to 1996, when Stephen Spielberg cast him in the critically acclaimed AMISTAD, alongside Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. He returned to the big screen in Stephen Frears’ 2001 thriller DIRTY PRETTY THINGS for which he won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards and the Evening Standard Film Awards. In 2003, he co-starred in three films: Richard Curtis’ LOVE ACTUALLY, Woody Allen’s MELINDA AND MELINDA and SLOW BURN, with Ray Liotta. 2008 saw Ejiofor star in Ridley Scott’s AMERICAN GANGSTER, opposite Don Cheadle in TALK TO ME, and in David Mamet’s REDBELT.

In 2009, he earned a Golden Globe nomination, his second, for ENDGAME with William Hurt, and co-starred in Roland Emmerich’s action feature 2012 opposite John Cusack, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton. The following year he co-starred in SALT, with Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber.

ANIKA NONI ROSE

Kainene

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Anika Noni Rose shot to prominence in her Tony Award winning performance in the 2004 Broadway musical, Caroline, or Change. Her first major film role came in 2006 with DREAMGIRLS in which she co-starred with Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. The film received an AFI ensemble award, as well as a SAG Award nomination and both the soundtrack and her song ‘Patience’ were nominated for Academy Awards. In 2009, Rose voiced Princess Tiana in Disney’s THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. The film received three Oscar nominations and she became the youngest inductee to ever be honoured as a Disney Legend. Rose also appeared Tyler Perry's adaption of Ntozake Shange's 1975 stage play, FOR COLORED GIRLS (2010).

JOSEPH MAWLE

Richard

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Joseph Mawle's first television role was Sir Tificate in the BAFTA-winning series Sir Gadabout, the Worst Knight in the Land (2002) for CITV. He went on to feature in Alex Holmes's mini-series Dunkirk for BBC2 which won a Factual Drama BAFTA. Mawle came to national recognition through the BAFTA winning drama SOUNDPROOF (2007), which won him a breakthrough nomination at the Royal Television Society Awards. The year continued with two performances under the direction of Adrian Shergold, the first in Jane Austen's Persuasion for ITV and the second in the controversial gay drama Clapham Junction for Channel 4. In 2008, he played Jesus in The Passion for BBC/HBO. The following year he had roles in the critically acclaimed BAFTA nominated dramas The Street and Freefall. He has recently completed filming on The Tunnel for Sky Atlantic with Clemence Posey and Stephen Dillane.

JOHN BOYEGA

Ugwu

Attack The Block - UK Premiere

John Boyega is best known for his leading role in Joe Cornish’s BAFTA nominated ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011), a South London set zombie thriller in which Boyega starred with Jodie Whittaker. He has also been seen in JUNKHEARTS (2011), a drama starring Eddie Marsan, Tom Sturridge and Romala Garai. Boyega has taken leading roles in TV productions including Spike Lee’s Da Brick for HBO and the BBC’s My Murder, based on a true story about the gangland death of a London boy. Boyega has recently filmed BBC drama The Whale, a dramatisation of events that inspired Moby Dick.

GENEVIEVE NNAJI

Miss Adebayo

Genevieve-Nnaji

Genevieve started her film career in 1998 and became the first actor to be awarded Best Actress at the maiden edition of the prestigious African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in 2005. Her popularity also transcends Nigerian shores. In 2009, she made history by being the only African actress to be profiled on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2010, she was featured as a ‘Connector of the day’ on ‘CNN Connect’ and soon afterwards she was profiled on CNN's ‘African Voices’. 

ONYEKA ONWENU

Mama

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Onyeka Onwenu is a multi talented artiste whose work as a singer/songwriter has earned her a place in the ‘Hall Of Fame’ of Nigeria's best known and admired musicians. In a career spanning over 32 years, she has recorded some of Nigeria’s most memorable hits, and has collaborated with artistes including King Sunny Ade. She was awarded the Nigerian national honour Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), and plays ‘Developmental Music’, often raising awareness about social issues related to peaceful coexistence, family planning and the well being of women and children. 

As an actress, Onyeka Onwenu's contribution to the growth of Nigeria's film industry has earned her widespread recognition, including the prestigious AMAA Award. As a journalist, she wrote and presented the widely acclaimed 1984 BBC/NTA production Nigeria: A Squandering of Riches. It remains the definitive film about corruption in oil rich Nigeria.

Half Of A Yellow Sun hits selected UK cinemas on April, 11th. Find out more about the movie; watch the trailer

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