Gosh, what could it be?

But how exactly did Hollywood manage to turn off such a talented actor? As a child, Ejogo had already been earmarked for stardom, picking up a kids’ modeling agent, a small part alongside David Bowie in Absolute Beginners at the age of 11 and the opportunity to present a Saturday morning TV show on the Disney Channel. In her twenties, she headed stateside to play Eddie Murphy’s girlfriend in Metro, worked with Michael Winterbottom and Kenneth Branagh in I Want Love and Love’s Labour’s Lost, respectively, and played Coretta Scott King in the TV movie Boycott (a role she later played again in Ava DuVernay’s Selma).

Yet that’s when Ejogo’s roles became less frequent.

What happened?

Her choice to have children, with then husband and Boycott co-star Jeffrey Wright, was a factor

Oh aye? Rilly?

11 thoughts on “Gosh, what could it be?”

  1. In America, the majority of blacks are actually mixed-race, to varying degrees. There isn’t a specific form of racism targeted at those who are 50/50.

  2. She is getting on a bit and moviegoers want to look at attractive young women.

    The men for obvious reasons, the women because they want to identify with an attractive younger woman character–esp if they themselves are past the flush of youth and beauty.

    Equally nobody wants to look at the old and clapped out as that estate will arrive for all of us soon enough without paying to see the decrepit trying to carry the movie.

  3. She should count herself lucky if she had any sort of film career after Absolute Beginners.

    Patsy Kensit eventually re-emerged in soaps after that unwatchable turd, and even that took time.

  4. Bloke in Wiltshire

    “and will next be seen in the second season of The Girlfriend Experience”

    I’m probably not supposed to find that the best bit of that article, but the first season of that was excellent.

  5. Playing Coretta King a couple of times endeared her to 20% of the population – the Left – and turned off the other 80%.

  6. Part of the sleight of hand here is in over-selling her early career and supposed promise/stardom.
    A tiny role in a famous disaster was followed by work as a child presenter on a cable channel when they were far less watched than now. Then she was in one each of Winterbottom and Branagh’s less notable films followed by a string of jobbing supporting/bit parts where she never had a leading role in a major production. Her career trajectory was not helped by, according to IMDB, being out of the business for at least three years in her prime.(Being invisible to casting directors for even a year by touring the provinces can be significant in a notoriously fickle business).

    It may or may not also be significant that Winterbottom and Branagh both famously use many of the same actors over and over – but not in this case)

    Outside of The Guardian’s imagination here was no inevitability that she would be a star, there never is. (Even for the relatives of major stars or producers there are numerous examples of underwhelming or aborted careers.)

    There are thousands of actors who have had worse careers with more promising starts for all sorts of reasons – or bad luck or for no obvious reason at all – but of course they don’t count for The Guardian because they aren’t the right kind of victim.

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    One of the things I like to do is use IMDb to see what became of various actors in films and series from a few years back. Recently I’ve been watching Jeeves and Wooster again (Fry/Laurie version, natch). Of course most of the people playing aunts and Earls etc. are dead now but out of the younger mob about 70% haven’t had any work in the last 15 years. This pattern is repeated over and over. The attrition rate among actors is like being in the Kriegsmarine 1939-1945.

  8. Bloke in Costa Rica:
    Certainly the attrition rate among actors is very high especially, as you suggest once the first flush of youth is over. Many a half-decent but not exceptional actor comes to the realization that most of the reason for their employability during their twenties was down to their looks. Once they are no longer the “juvenile lead” type they are competing solely on talent and application.
    It’s often the ones who weren’t the obvious beauties but were otherwise interesting (and dedicated to the craft despite their looks) who keep getting the character parts as they age.

    Some women marry and give up working, others, men and women, tire of the rejection, the gypsy wanderings and an income veering unpredictably between modest and zero for anyone who isn’t a real star. If they get offered a bearable job with a regular income not in acting many take it – perhaps thinking it will be temporary. Once out of the time-consuming casting rat race though it’s tough to get back in.
    Some are still in show business but as directors, writers, casting agents, in production etc. etc.

    IMDB though don’t forget isn’t an entirely reliable indication of whether or not someone is still a working actor as many work for years in theatre without a film or TV role. Having one or two famous TV series on an actor’s CV – even from decades ago – can get them quite a bit of work touring the provinces or in panto. (Don’t knock panto as an income though – a middling star in panto can make enough to live on for the rest of the year if they are careful.)

  9. “If they get offered a bearable job with a regular income not in acting many take it – perhaps thinking it will be temporary.”

    Yes. It used to be common for Californians to say their (desired) show biz role, then their real job.

    “I’m an actor. And a book keeper.”

    “I’m a screen writer. And a waiter.”

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