‘My roles should challenge me as an actor,’

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Hollywood actor Nonso Anozie gives us a glimpse of his character in American drama television series Zoo that will make its Indian television premiere soon, how he chooses his roles and why theatre must be the starting point for all actors

Every time Hollywood actor Nonso Anozie is on screen, he has surprised us with his roles. From films like Ender’s Game, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to TV shows like Game of Thrones or Outcasts, Nonso knows how to arouse the curiosity of the audience. 

His role in TV show Zoo, which revolves around a group of varied professionals investigating mysterious violent animal attacks on humans all over the world, is no different. The American drama television series based on the 2012 novel of the same name by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, will make its Indian television premiere on AXN on February 8.  

The British actor says that he wants India to watch the show because it’s an exciting one and the team has worked very hard on it. Ask him about his experience of working on the show and he replies, “Well, I really love doing anything that’s exciting and brings variety. Zoo is definitely one of those shows that brings variety to every scene, and every storyline is different. It’s thrilling for me to be part of the show. Zoo has something special that will appeal to everyone. Also, it’s got such a group of actors who are not just talented but lovely people too,” he says while promoting it. 

India seems to have become an important market for Hollywood studios. From promoting films to TV shows, actors and makers are taking this market very seriously. “It’s very interesting to see how India has become a big market but that’s not surprising. This is happening because there are so many people out there,” he adds. 

When asked if he’s got a chance to watch Indian films, he says that Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan happens to be one of his favourites. “The film about the Indian cricket team, I loved it. Whenever I get a chance, I do watch Indian films.”

The actor has played diverse characters, so how does he choose his roles? Nonso says that he tries to choose a character like Abraham (his role in Zoo) that’s interesting. “It has to be different and not something you would naturally expect me to play. It’s not a character where I am the big bad guy but I should be challenged as an actor,” he quips. He says that the reason Abraham excited him as an actor is because he got to enact different emotions. “That’s where my focus is all the time,” he says. But how important it is for him to connect with the character? “If I do not connect with the character, I will not be able to tell the story,” he adds. 

Theatre has played a major role in his life as Nonso began his career as a theatre actor. From playing King Lear in a professional production to starring in productions like Othello and Death and the King’s Horseman, he has been actively part of the stage. The medium has immensely contributed to his career. “Theatre is the place where it all begins for me. It’s a medium where all actors should learn the craft and also start out because it strengthens you as an actor. When it comes to doing TV work, you can pull out all that experience from theatre and bring it to TV,” he says. 

In one of his interviews, Nonso said that a lot of people had told him that he can never become an actor. So what kept him going and achieving his dream? “I always wanted to be an actor. But sometimes people don’t believe that you can come from one faraway society and become successful. Sometimes your best friends tell you that you can’t make it because you are trying to change your surroundings. But I am a spiritual person and I always believe that god had planned for me to become an actor. I also had the support of my family,” he says before signing off.   

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Zoo will premiere on AXN on February 8 and will air every Thursday at 10 pm 

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