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Here's Why Midnite From Constantine Looks So Familiar

When most people think of comic book movies, the ones that come to mind are usually superhero flicks — from Marvel's The Avengers to Justice League on the DC side of the fence. But, like any other medium, comic books come in all shapes and sizes — and so do the films that adapt them. 2005's Constantine is the perfect example.

The titular John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), who first appeared in Alan Moore and Rick Veitch's Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 in 1985, doesn't wear a cape, or fly around, or punch bad guys through buildings. No, he's an ... expert occultist of sorts, blessed (though he wouldn't say so) with the ability to communicate with supernatural beings — more specifically, half-angels and half-demons. He's also a man with an unhealthy helping of personal issues — like his own damnation, which he's constantly working to correct.

Constantine's misadventures cause him to cross paths with characters of all stripes, the trilby hat-wearing witch doctor Papa Midnite among them. Midnite's club hosts half-angels and half-demons both, making it an ideal place for Constantine to gather information. The club owner doesn't want much to do with Constantine and his audacious claims at first but, without spoiling anything too serious, circumstances change later on in the film and the two are forced to work together.

Constantine wasn't Midnite actor Djimon Hounsou's first rodeo, so he may seem familiar to viewers. Here's where you may have seen him before.

Djimon Hounsou starred in a Steven Spielberg historical drama

Though he'd started his film career several years earlier, Steven Spielberg's Amistad could be considered Hounsou's first "big" film. As Joseph Cinqué, a chattel slave aboard the titular ship in 1839, he leads a mutiny that puts the slaves in charge. Heads swollen with success, they force the remaining navigators to sail them back to Africa, but are tricked into sailing right into the U.S. Navy's clutches instead.

As if matters couldn't get any worse, Cinqué and his fellows are charged with a number of crimes upon their recapture. Disadvantaged by the unfamiliar turf, their status as slaves, and the befuddling English language, they have quite a legal battle ahead of them. No specifics will be spoiled here, but Cinqué proves integral in the prolonged litigation. The film isn't entirely historically accurate, but that didn't stop Hounsou from being nominated for a Golden Globe or winning the 1998 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. 

It's an early show of the actor's talents, and his career would only head up from there.

Hounsou found family In America

Based partially on the immigrant experiences of screenwriters Jim, Naomi, and Kirsten Sheridan, In America chronicles the trials and tribulations of the Sullivan family as they attempt to start anew in 1985 New York City. Life wasn't easy for them back home in Ireland, and Hell's Kitchen doesn't exactly make things better. There are questions of faith, questions of family, and questions of how to make a living in one of the Big Apple's most tumultuous epochs.

Amid the search for answers, the Sullivans meet Mateo Kuamey (Hounsou), a Nigerian immigrant living in the same tenement. A photographer and an artist, the man is something of a recluse — and has tragic reasons for being so. Nonetheless, something sparks between the family and their new friend, and the fire that catches burns bright indeed. If only it could burn so brightly forever ...

Hounsou earned his first Academy Award nomination for the film. It is, without a doubt, one of his most touching performances to date in a somewhat forgotten film that's not to be missed.

Djimon Hounsou traveled across a scarred Sierra Leone in Blood Diamond

The term "blood diamond" refers to a diamond discovered in a major conflict zone — often by miners conscripted against their will — and sold to bolster the finances of a war effort.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the underrated action drama Blood Diamond is about exactly that. A fisherman named Solomon Vandy (Hounsou) is swept up and forced to mine for the precious stones in Sierra Leone, far from his family and the life he knew before. Under the watchful eye of Captain Poison (David Harewood), he unearths a pink diamond — among the most precious varieties of the gem. Vandy is quickly pressured to put the diamond back where he found it when armed forces arrive and capture him.

In prison, he meets gunrunner Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), who's willing to help reunite Vandy with his family on the condition that Vandy helps him locate the diamond in return. Thus begins a violent journey across Sierra Leone — one that earned Hounsou another Academy Award nod despite the film's lukewarm critical reception.

Hounsou appeared in two MCU films

Though he'd worked with Marvel before as the voice of Black Panther in the eponymous 2010 motion comic-television series, Hounsou made his live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe debut four years later in Guardians of the Galaxy. In his role as the Kree warrior Korath the Pursuer, a cybernetically-enhanced agent of Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) — and Thanos (Josh Brolin) by extension — he's successful in capturing and detaining Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) ... for awhile, at least.

Hounsou reprises his role in 2019's Captain Marvel, which takes place in 1995 — nearly 20 years earlier than Guardians. The younger Korath is a member of the Starforce, a group of elite Kree warriors, and not yet equipped with his upgraded body. The film touches on his hatred of the Skrulls, longtime enemies of the Kree, and reveals exactly why he'll eventually need the new body in the first place.

Hounsou has several upcoming projects lined up, from Kingsman series prequel The King's Man to a voice role in Prime Video's Invincible. Once COVID-19 clears up and releases Hollywood schedules from its grasp, we're sure to see much more of the talented actor.