He is a British-Nigerian actor who is known for several movie roles. He won a scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and finished his training in 1998. He played supporting roles in the films “The Last King of Scotland”, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, “Jack Reacher”, “Middle of Nowhere”, “The Paperboy”, and “Lincoln”. He also earned high praise for portraying Louis Gaines in “The Butler”. His TV roles include, “Spooks”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, and “Star Wars: Rebels.” He stars as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the biographical drama film “Selma”, for which he received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama.
In an interview with the Telegraph UK, he is described as having an unwaveringness about him which can be ascribed to his Christian faith. He said, “my faith is a very visceral, conversational one that bleeds into everything. I was brought up as a Baptist. By 16 I was ready to leave church behind. It was a time when my hormones were raging and I was nursing a nice rebellious streak. I decided to try a different church for three months and God turned up in a dramatic way. From then on my behaviour and decisions have been driven by my faith.
As a devout Christian, he often prays on film sets. For the movie “Selma”, he said he heard a voice tell him that he would play the role of Martin Luther King, Jr. In an interview with The L.A. Times, he said, “I knew that voice [of God], because it was the same voice that told me to marry my wife, the same voice that told me to give names to my children before they were even conceived. This is how God has spoken to me in the past. And it’s what kept me going even though directors at the time didn’t want me.”
He said further, “I think it’s vital to have something outside your acting to keep you rooted in the real world, and help you fill the vacuum. If you have nothing else, it can be unhealthy. For me being a Christian has been invaluable: it simply means acting isn’t the centre of my life.”