READ NOW: Babou Ceesay… Our next leading man?

From Doing Audits At Work To Turning Auditions Into Work! This is how Babou Ceesay took hold of his destiny and became one of our culture’s leading men.

Our culture is doing nothing less than bits right now. Our directors, writers, and producers are showcasing our brilliance through theatre, film, and TV. Our actors are smashing roles that inspire upcoming talent to want to beat that benchmark. It’s a wonderful time to involve yourself with UK film.

The feeling I’m about to describe is one I’m sure you’ve experienced. It’s the desire of wanting to strive for your goals. It’s the knowing that where you are isn’t where you want to be, and the understanding that the plan people may have for you isn’t the plan you’ve made for yourself. I believe acting on that feeling is like the inciting incident to any film or show. 

Enter Babou Ceesay, the perfect example of this. Ceesay was born in England but grew up all over West Africa, returning to London, he studied microbiology and eventually landed a job as an accountant. That’s when Ceesay was struck with that feeling: his own inciting incident. That moment when you’re sat there and you’re like ‘Nah, this isn’t the one you know.’

And he went for it. He did his research, found out where he could get funding for drama schools and banged out Shakespeare in preparation for auditions. Now you’ve seen him in Free Fire and Guerrilla and spotted him in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Luther. And it’s always nice when your picture makes it to the alumni page:

Displayed On The Oxford School of Drama’s site. Look at that tie!!!

What does it take to be a leading man? Our culture already has Idris Elba, John Boyega, Damson Idris and David Oyelowo. It goes further than just representing – Babou, like the others mentioned actually aces his lead roles! I mean c’mon, he was nominated for a BAFTA for ‘Best Leading Actor’ in ‘Damilola, Our Loved Boy’! And he doesn’t stop there, to this day he continues to deliberately pick roles he’ll find challenging for his personal growth. That’s strength!

Babou alongside Jilf Halfpenny in BBC’s Dark Mon£y

If you’re looking for inspiration, Babou is your guy. His work in recent years has shone a light on topics that may often go unheard of:

  •  In Dark Mon£y, he is ‘Manny’, the father of a son who has been abused by a filmmaker. Watching Manny battle for his family becomes all the more complicated when the moral question of accepting cash for silence on the matter comes into play…
  • The Best of Enemies focuses on Ann Atwater’s struggle over the issue of segregation in 1971, North Carolina. The remarkable resulting friendship between Civil Rights activist and ex-member of the Ku Klux Klan makes this a must-watch.
  • Half of a Yellow Sun, adapted from the book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an emotional movie with the themes of love and war at its heart. The film is set in the turbulent times of 1960’s Nigeria. The cast is also made up of John Boyega, Thandie Newton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Ceesay is a reminder that our long-range goals can be scored. And we look forward to him being widely regarded among the stars we often celebrate!