Africa’s star shines in Hollywood

Ugandan, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, is undoubtedly Africa's mega film star in the making. In the gritty American film industry, he is as cool as they come. Mwine is currently cast in Blood Diamond, a movie starring Oscar Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar Award winner Jen

nifer Connelly and Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou in Mozambique. Oscar Award winning director Ed Zwick directs the movie.
Mwine was also one of the star attractions at this year’s edition of HIFA, with his show drew a full house. But what does it feel like to be working with some of Hollywood’s hot spots?
“You wouldn’t believe it that they are just ordinary human beings like you me, down to earth people. They are not pompous and arrogant because of their high profiles. They are natural and very nice and we have established an easy working relationship,” he says.
How did he end up getting a role in a big picture with big stars? “It actually came as a surprise to me because many actors from different cities of the world such as New York, Los Angeles, London and Johannesburg auditioned for the same role. I guess I was the lucky one,” say Ntare humbly. Is it easy for African actors to break into the American movie industry? “No,” is the firm reply. “There is fierce competition. Only two factors can determine your success in Hollywood: hard work and vital connections.”
He describes the thematic focus of his multi-media solo piece, Biro, which he performed at HIFA 2006 in one word – survival. The story line is based on true-life experiences of a relative of his. It chronicles the life of a young African man. His early days as a soldier with the Ugandan insurgency, to his HIV positive diagnosis in Cuba, to a present day jail cell in Texas poignantly illuminating the plight of Ugandans and Africans in general, who have endured the face of civil wars, AIDS and dashed hopes. Biro is powerful theatre telling the story of Africa’s endurance.
After its successful 2003 world premiere in Uganda, Biro has been staged and performed in several countries to rave reviews.
Though renowned for acting and photography, Mwine’s first effort as a filmmaker is a documentary titled, ‘Beware of Time’, which exposes the lives of HIV positive Ugandans, and the brutal war crimes ravaging northern Uganda.
Mwine, who has been to Zimbabwe twice, loves the country in many ways. “My good friend, (US-based Zimbabwean filmmaker and actor) Michael Chinyemurindi gave me the love of his country. We often talk a lot about our cultures, our peoples and our countries and I feel I am more attached to Zimbabwe in many ways. Besides it’s a beautiful country, very friendly and hospitable.” Indeed, Africa’s star is shining in Hollywood.

Post published in: Arts

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