Kenyan Actor Joins Will Smith in Feature Film


Kenyan-born actor Gilbert Owuor has joined celebrated actor Will Smith in the upcoming Apple Original Film Emancipation.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer), the film is based on true events and follows the story of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters.

The film also features the punishing Louisiana swamp on a tortuous journey to the Union Army and Peter’s only chance at freedom.

Owuor, who has featured in other films including Montana Story, Mute, Reprisal and Calls will play Gordon, an enslaved man working at the same camp as Peter.

Gilbert Owuor and the cast of Apple Original Film 'Emancipation'. /AP

Hollywood actor Will Smith, James Lassiter and Jon Mone are the producers of Emancipation through Westbrook Studios with McFarland Entertainment’s Joey McFarland and Escape Artists’ Todd Black.

Owuor begun his career in 2011 from Taharuki, where he played the role of Kevin. Taharuki was a short project that was a brain child of his school friend, Ekwa Msangi.

The film narrated Kenya’s darkest hour during the controversial General Elections in 2007. Later, Owuor appeared in various roles in a number of movies and TV Series which help him to gain wider recognition.

Kenya is famous for numerous personalities who have flown the country’s flag high. From athletes like Eliud Kipchoge to football stars like Victor Wanyama to music personalities such as Sauti Sol who have set the entire continent alight with their music.

Little is, however, known of international actors who have made it on the international stage and were born in the country. Lupita Nyong’o the obvious name that comes to mind, the other is X-Men star Edi Gathegi

Gathegi has been featured in several Hollywood films. He was born in 1979 in Umoja Estate, located in the Eastlands area of Nairobi County.

He moved to the United States with his family to the city of Albany in California when he was just three years old. There, he scored his first major role, appearing alongside English actor Jason Statham and American actress Amy Smart in the 2006 action film Crank.

He quickly earned roles alongside Hollywood aces Kevin Bacon in Sentence and as character Cheese in Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone.

On the TV scene, he appeared on CSI: Miami, and earned much recognition and popularity for his recurring role as Dr. Jeffery “Big Love” Cole on House M.D. He also got a role in a popular TV show, The Blacklist Season 3, Mr. Solomon (Gathegi’s character) acting behalf of The Cabal, an alliance made up of some of the most powerful people in the world.

Other roles include Kalume Ungara in an episode of Nikita, Iggy as well as various characters in two episodes of animation series Phineas and Ferb as well as Jacobee in two episodes of Into the Badlands.

Gathegi’s career gained momentum and he received a suggestion from a casting director about auditioning for a role as a vampire in The Twilight Saga. He auditioned for the film and landed the role of Laurent in the fantasy film.

Twilight became an international success and he retained his role for the franchise’s second film. He earned another high profile role as Armando Muñoz/Darwin in the Marvel Comics superhero film X-Men: First Class.