O-T Fagbenle has gone on to be cast as series regular Luke on HULU’s The Handmaid’s Tale (2017), directed by Reed Morano. This is the second time Fagbenle and Morano worked together. The two first collaborated on HBO’s Looking (2016). Earlier, Fagbenle lead a National Theatre cast to an Olivier Award for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and starred as the male lead in the BBC’s NW (2016). He was cast as the lead in American crime writer Harlan Coben’s original drama series The Five (2016), which first aired in April 2016 on Sky 1. Born in London and raised there, as well as in Spain and Nigeria, Fagbenle was a world traveler at a young age. As a child, music was his passion and he played the saxophone in bands across Europe, performing at the Edinburgh Festival, Wembley Arena, the Royal Albert Hall, and even touring Spain. When he was 16 years old, he landed his first proper role in a Nigerian adaptation of Macbeth. Originally hired to play the saxophone, Fagbenle was also given several lines in the play, and he knew at that moment that acting was his calling. The director was so impressed by Fagbenle’s work, by the second revival of the play he had secured the lead role. Theatre became his passion, as he appeared in dozens of plays across the UK, working in notable productions including the national tours of shows such as Ragamuffin, Romeo & Juliet [as Mercutio], and the West End debut of Porgy and Bess, the musical. Fagbenle was soon offered his first lead role for the stage, in John Guare’s award-winning Six Degrees of Separation; for his performance, Fagbenle was awarded the M.E.N. Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In 2006, Fagbenle made his feature film debut, appearing in The Weinstein Company’s Breaking and Entering (2006), opposite Jude Law, Robin Wright, and Juliette Binoche. He was next seen in I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007), alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd, and Saoirse Ronan. In 2008, he made his first appearance on U.S. television, starring on NBC’s Quarterlife (2007) as John, a singer-songwriter. (Fagbenle was able to pen and perform all the songs his character played on the show.) 2008 also brought starring roles for Fagbenle in the UK. He appeared in the lead role in the critically acclaimed Walter’s War (2008), a biopic of the first mixed heritage officer (Walter Tull) in the British Army, and Consuming Passion (2008), both for the BBC. In 2010, Fagbenle took a leading role as Chris in the BBC One flagship show Material Girl (2010). He also starred in Thorne: Sleepyhead (2010) and Thorne: Scaredycat (2010). Directed by Stephen Hopkins, the six one-hour episodes also starred Sandra Oh and David Morrissey, and was sold to over 100 countries. 2010 brought Fagbenle back to the U.S., starring opposite Tamera Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry-Hardrict in Lifetime’s Double Wedding (2010). Fagbenle returned to the stage in 2012, taking on the role of Slupianek (originated by Alan Cumming) in The Conquest of the South Pole at the Arcola and Rose theatres. He won critical acclaim and secured a nomination for Best Male Performance at the Off-West End Awards. In 2013, he landed a series regular role in the BBC comedy Quick Cuts (2013) and also was cast the following year in the HBO series Looking (2016). Additional credits include: Happy Endings (2011), Brothers (2009), My Boys (2006), and Doctor Who (2005). Fagbenle also works behind the scenes, recently completing two shorts films which he wrote, directed, and produced: Big Bad Blood (2013) and MOTH (Man of the House) (2014). He voiced the character of “‘Calico’ Jack Rackham” in the video game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013). Fagbenle recently worked with Grammy-nominated artist Tyga, co-writing the single “Storm” for his Black Thoughts Vol. 2 mixtape.
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