×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Undercovers’ leads took different paths

Mbatha-Raw's lifelong ambition taken up late by Kodjoe

New Faces for Fall:
Sharon Horgan | Jon Michael Hill | Billy Gardell | Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe | Andrew Lincoln | Holt McCallany | Michael Pitt | Maggie Q | Ruth Wilson | James Wolk
Fall TV Preview 2010

Since Gugu Mbatha-Raw first took to performing onstage at 11, she knew being an actress was her destiny. But her “Undercovers” TV husband Boris Kodjoe quips the only acting he did as a child was “acting out with my brother.”

“I didn’t open that box until I was interested in losing my (German) accent. Then I got the fever pretty quickly,” says Kodjoe, who moved from model to actor in his early 20s with “Soul Food.”

Mbatha-Raw trained early, graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and embarking on a career trajectory marked by success in British theater and even a bit of TV (“Doctor Who”). She landed in the United States for the first time last year, starring on Broadway opposite Jude Law in “Hamlet.”

After capturing the plum role in J.J. Abrams’ romantic espionage series, she began fielding questions about the color-blind casting.

“Coming from the U.K., we have a different cultural legacy, so I was pretty naive,” says the outgoing only child of a South African physician and British nurse. “I just saw a great page-turner that offered roles within roles. It made an attractive package.”

Kodjoe, a former pre-med student whose mother is a German psychologist and father a Ghanaian physician, says the role represents becoming part of mainstream Hollywood.

“I’ve had to overcome all those cultural and linguistic obstacles,” Kodjoe says. “I cherish this moment because I’m absolutely aware of how rare this opportunity to show so many gears — comedy, drama, romance, action — is for any actor.”

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: 45th Annual Humanitas

    TV News Roundup: 45th Annual Humanitas Nominees Announced

    In today’s TV news roundup, Humanitas has released the finalists for the 45th Annual Humanitas Prize, and YouTube announced a new beauty competition series hosted by James Charles.  CASTINGS Jason Kennedy has been named as the host of E!’s new series “In The Room.“ The “E! News” host will bring viewers inside celebrity homes for [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viacom Extends 'The Office,' 'Parks and Recreation' Syndication Deals

    “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” reruns will continue to air on Viacom linear networks for the foreseeable future. The company announced that it has reached a new deal with NBCUniversal to keep “The Office” on Comedy Central through 2021. The series will then air in a non-exclusive window on Viacom Media Networks through 2025. [...]

  • Conan O'Brien Michael Showalter

    HBO Max Orders Pilots From Producers Conan O'Brien, Michael Showalter

    HBO Max has ordered two shows to pilot, one a comedy and the other a drama. The streamer will produce both pilots. The comedy is titled “Gumshoe.” It follows a sweet, optimistic young cop and a creepy, crime-obsessed teenager who secretly team up to solve a murder. Aaron Brownstein and Simon Ganz will write, executive [...]

  • Emmys statue

    TV Academy Will No Longer Allow Inactive Members to Vote for Emmys (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Television Academy is introducing a vetting process to its Emmy-voting body, in a move that it hopes will “uphold the caliber of the Emmy Awards competition and the vibrancy of its membership.” In a letter sent to the organization’s membership on Friday afternoon, the Academy detailed new efforts to review Emmy voting status. Beginning [...]

  • Bill Murray

    Bill Murray to Star in Peter Farrelly Comedy Series at Quibi

    Bill Murray is the latest name to stop in for a quick bite at Quibi. The veteran “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day” star will play a recurring role opposite Dave Franco in “The Now,” a comedy series which hails from “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly. “The Now” centers on Ed Poole (Franco), who is about to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content