Half of a Yellow Sun – Cast List

 

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IN CINEMAS FROM 11 APRIL 2014
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 CAST OF ‘HALF OF A YELLOW SUN’

 

Thandie-Newton

THANDIE NEWTON – plays Olanna
Thandie Newton made her film debut alongside Nicole Kidman in 1991’s FLIRTING. In 1994 Neil Jordan cast her as Brad Pitt’s maid in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES also starring Tom Cruise. 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. Jonathan Demme cast her again in THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (2004), alongside Stephen Dillane and Mark Wahlberg. That same year, she joined Vin Diesel and Judi Dench in sci-fi adventure, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and took on the role in CRASH for which she won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. Newton played a wealthy woman who becomes the target of Matt Dillon’s racist policeman in Paul Haggis’ film which went on to win three Academy Awards. In 2006, Newton 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. ROCKNROLLA, Guy Ritchie’s 2008 London thriller, saw her playing opposite Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson. Two US presidential roles followed, as Newton portrayed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in W. (2008), Oliver Stone’s film biography of George W. Bush.

 

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor


CHIWETEL EJIOFOR – plays Odenigbo

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.

Ejiofor’s other film credits include KINKY BOOTS (2005), the urban drama FOUR BROTHERS (2005) alongside Mark Whalberg, Spike Lee’s heist film INSIDE MAN alongside Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington, and the Oscar nominated CHILDREN OF MEN, once again alongside Clive Owen, both 2006. 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.  in 2014 he won a BAFTA award for his starring role in Steve McQueen’s TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, alongside Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Paul Giamatti.

 

 

41st NAACP Image Awards - Portraits

ANIKA NONI ROSE – plays Kainene
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.

 

 

joseph MawleJOSEPH MAWLE – plays Richard
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. Mawle played The Ripper in James Marsh’s The Red Riding Trilogy in 2009 and the following year saw him star in BBC drama Five Daughters about the Ipswich prostitute murders, in Dominic Savage’s TV film Dive and alongside an all-star international cast in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. 2011 was another busy year as he starred in DH Lawrence adaptation, Women in Love, with Rosamund Pike and Rory Kinnear. Mawle appeared as Benjen Stark in the smash HBO series Game of Thrones which gained an ensemble performance SAG Award nomination. In 2012 Joseph was BAFTA nominated for his role in Birdsong, alongside Eddie Redmayne. He has recently completed filming on The Tunnel for Sky Atlantic with Clemence Posey and Stephen Dillane.

 

 

John Boyega
JOHN BOYEGA – plays Ugwu
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.

 

 

Genevieve4
GENEVIEVE NNAJI – plays Miss Adebayo
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-Onwenu1

ONYEKA ONWENU – Mama
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.

Onwenu is a graduate of Wellesley College, Massachusetts and the New School for Social Research in New York. She worked as a Tour Guide at The United Nations in New York before returning to Nigeria, where she has lived and worked since 1980, as an artiste, social critic and politician, campaigning for financial autonomy for Local Government Administration. She is a mother of two sons, Tijani and Abraham Ogunlen.

 

 

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BIYI BANDELE – Screenwriter/Director

A prolific Nigerian playwright, novelist and screenwriter now based in London, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is Biyi Bandele’s feature film directorial debut. This first feature follows his distinguished career writing and directing plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court, and writing screenplays for the BBC and British and international film productions.
Bandele has previously written and directed a short, THE KISS (2009), a psychological thriller. For television Bandele wrote Not Even God is Wise Enough directed by Danny Boyle for BBC2 in 1994 and Bad Boy Blues for BBC2 (1995). He has also written a number of BBC radio dramas including Oroonoko (Radio 3, 2003), City of Spades (Radio 4, 2002) and Things Fall Apart (Radio 3, 1998).

His prolific writing for theatre includes his adaptation of Aphra Benn’s Oroonoko, which was a huge hit for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2000, and was successfully revived by New York’s Theatre for a New Audience in 2007. He wrote Brixton Stories for London’s Tricycle Theatre in 2001 and Yerma for the Edinburgh International Festival in 2000. The same year he worked on Happy Birthday, Mister Deka D at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. Earlier work, all in London. includes Thieves Like Us Southwark Playhouse (1998), Things Fall Apart, Ambassadors Theatre (1997), Me and the Boys, Finborough Theatre (1996), Death Catches the Hunter, BAC (1995), Two Horsemen, Gate Theatre (transferred to Bush Theatre, 1994), Resurrections, Talawa Theatre Company, Cochrane Theatre (1994), In the Grove… Royal Court Theatre (At the Tabernacle, 1994), Marching For Fausa, Royal Court Theatre (1993) and Rain, Yaa Asantewaa (1991).

Bandele’s fiction writing includes Burma Boy published by Jonathan Cape in 2007 (published as The King’s Rifle, Harper Collins in the US in 2009); The Street, Picador, 1999; The Sympathetic Undertaker & Other Dreams, Heinemann, 1994; and The Man Who Came In From The Back Of Beyond, Heinemann, 1993.


To see the trailer and for full production notes, click here

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