Open main menu

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a Ghanaian-born British actor known for his film, television, theatre, and voice work.

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Born
Alma materGuildford School of Acting
OccupationActor
Years active2002–present

Early lifeEdit

Holdbrook-Smith was born in Accra, Ghana. He grew up in Frimley, Surrey, England, went to school in Frimley, with his mother Tenu, his father Henry and brother Kofi.[1] He was initially frightened of taking up acting due to his family's disapproval. "I was about 15, I thought, ‘I wonder if I could [become an actor]’. I hadn’t really suggested it to anyone. It just didn’t seem allowed. So there was a slow exploration of [acting] and by the time I was 18, I was resolute."[2]

He attended Guildford School of Acting to study acting,[3] graduating in 2000.[4]

CareerEdit

Holdbrook-Smith began his acting career on television in 2002 when he played Orlando Figes in the Judge John Deed episode "Everyone's Child". Since then, he has had roles in TV series such as Little Britain, Star Stories (from 2006 till 2008), Taking the Flak, Sirens, Holby City, Silk, Father Brown, Father Brown, The Last Panthers, Class, Dark Heart and The Split.

His first major theatre lead came in 2005, when he played Ken in Mustapha Matura's Playboy of the West Indies at the Tricycle Theatre.[5] He later starred in their critically acclaimed African-American Season, performing in the European premieres of Walk Hard by Abram Hill, Fabulation by Lynn Nottage and Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson. In interviews he has cited August Wilson’s plays as personal favourites.[6] In 2006 he played Levee In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, then four years later he appeared as Herald Loomis in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson at the Young Vic Theatre.

He first appeared at the Globe in 2007 in Love’s Labours Lost. Later the same year he performed this Shakespeare play at the National Theatre of Korea, in Seoul. Holdbrook-Smith had his debut at the National Theatre in 2009 and has since starred in four productions there (most notably appearing as Mortimer in Edward II). In 2015 he played Laertes alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre, this play was also broadcast live in movie theatres worldwide as part of National Theatre Live.[7]

In 2016 Holdbrook-Smith could be seen with Benedict Cumberbatch again, this time in the blockbuster Marvel’s Dr Strange.[8] A year later he played the part of Det. Crispus Allen in DC Comics Justice League. The same year he also starred as Warden Walker in the well-known children's film Paddington 2,[9] and as Father Emery in the positively-reviewed horror film Ghost Stories. In 2018, he played the role of Oliver in The Commuter and played Frye/Weasel in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns.[10]

Holdbrook-Smith has also performed in BBC radio dramas, including Judas[11] and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.[12] Furthermore Holdbrook-Smith is known for his audiobook narrations,[13] most notably the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.[14]

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is currently starring in the musical Tina as Ike Turner at the Aldwych Theatre.[15] Tina Turner herself approved of the casting.[16]

FilmographyEdit

Film roles
Year Film Role Notes
2011 Rahab Mill Short film
2012 Womack Dan Tan Short film
2013 The Double Guard / Doctor
2013 10ml I.V. Karl Short film
2014 Trick or Receipt Martin Short film
2015 Hamlet Laertes Live in theaters
2016 Doctor Strange Physical Therapist
2017 Ghost Stories Father Emery
2017 Justice League Detective Crispus Allen
2017 Paddington 2 Warden Walker
2018 The Commuter Oliver
2018 Mary Poppins Returns Frye / Weasel (voice)
2018 Gwen Doctor Wren
Television roles
Year Film Role Notes
2002 Judge John Deed Orlando Figes Episode: "Everyone's Child"
2003 Casualty PC Riddock Episode: "Never Judge a Book"
2003 Absolute Power Journalist No. 1 Episode: "Burn and Crash"
2004 Little Britain 2 episodes
2004 Holby City Lee Holden Episode: "One More Chance"
2005 Family Affairs Officer Kennedy 1 episode
2005 According to Bex Vox Pops Recurring
2005 Mike Bassett: Manager Carlton Dawes Main cast
2006 Pulling Joe's Father 1 episode
2006-2008 Star Stories Various 8 episodes
2007 The Bill Bruno Hammond Episode: "Code of Silence"
2007 The Whistleblowers Male Nurse Episode: "Pandemic"
2007 Katy Brand's Big Ass Show 1 episode
2009 Whatever It Takes Nifemi TV Movie
2009 Taking the Flak Joyful Sifuri Main cast
2009 PhoneShop Graham Episode: "New Man: Pilot"
2010 Whites Barnaby 1 episode
2011 Roadkill Tommy TV Movie
2011 Sirens Ryan Bailey Recurring
2011 Holby City Paul James 2 episodes
2012 Silk Paul McGovern 1 episode
2013 Frankie Max Hall 1 episode
2013 The Café Jason Recurring
2014 Turks & Caicos Colin Maitlis TV Movie
2014 Crackanory Commander Episode: "In Space No One Can Hear You Clean & the Weather Man"
2014 Agatha Raisin Rev. Jez Bloxby Episode: "The Quiche of Death"
2015 Father Brown Marvin Morris Episode: "The Invisible Man"
2015 Midsomer Murders Rob Mead Episode: "The Dagger Club"
2015 The Last Panthers James Davis Miniseries; main cast
2015 Capital Mashinko Miniseries
2016 Class Jasper Adeola Episode: "Nightvisiting"
2016 Dark Heart DS Dave Pulford 1 episode
2018 The Split Glen Peters Recurring

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Dramatic Need". Dramatic Need. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  2. ^ Ositelu, Tola (May 27, 2017). "Dramatic Chameleon: An Interview with Kobna Holdbrook-Smith". Soul Culture. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  3. ^ "STAR GUESTS LEAD CHANGE THROUGH THE ARTS CAREERS EVENT AT GSA | GSA - Guildford School of Acting". gsauk.org. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  4. ^ "Alumni: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith". Guilford School of Acting. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
  5. ^ "Playboy of the West Indies, Tricycle Theatre, London". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  6. ^ Afridiziak.com. "Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Joe Turner's Come and Gone". Afridiziak Theatre News. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  7. ^ www.kbgroupuk.com. "Hamlet". barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  8. ^ Doctor Strange (2016), retrieved 2018-05-31
  9. ^ Paddington 2 (2017), retrieved 2018-05-31
  10. ^ Marshall, Rob (2018-12-25). "Mary Poppins Returns". Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  11. ^ "Episode 1, Judas, 15 Minute Drama - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  12. ^ "On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Saturday Drama - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  13. ^ "Kobna Holdbrook Smith on GoodReads". GoodReads. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  14. ^ "Rivers of London audiobook by Ben Aaronovitch - Rakuten Kobo". Rakuten Kobo. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  15. ^ "CAST & CREATIVE - Tina Turner Musical Limited". Tina Turner Musical Limited. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  16. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (2017-11-17). "Ike star is simply the best, says Tina: Singer gives approval to the actor who will play her late ex-husband in musical about her life". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2018-07-22.

External linksEdit