In 2002, Nonso Anozie joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and played the titular role in Declan Donnellan directed stage production ‘King Lear’. With this, he became the youngest person in history to play King Lear on a professional level. The next year, he appeared in a prisoner’s role in David Mamet’s ‘Edmond’ at the National Theatre. In 2004, he went on an international tour with the Cheek by Jowl (Theatre Company). He played the title role in ‘Othello’ and won the 2004 ‘Ian Charleson Award’ for his performance. The same year, he also bagged the ‘Shanghai Magnolia Stage Performance Award’.
In 2006, he was selected as a voice artist for the character of armoured bear ‘Iorek Byrnison’ in ‘The Golden Compass’, a movie based on Philip Pullman's novel ‘Northern Lights’. However, he was replaced by Ian McKellen later. A year later, he acted in an episode of TV miniseries ‘Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act’ and a couple of films: ‘The Last Legion’ and ‘Atonement’. Between 2008 and 2010, he appeared in a number of films like ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’, ‘Cass’, ‘RocknRolla’, ‘Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang’, ‘Brighton Rock’ and ‘I Am Slave’. He played the lead role of ‘Cass Pennant’ in the British crime drama film ‘Cass’. His role in Guy Ritchie’s ‘RocknRolla’, though small, earned him recognition.
His other prominent films include ‘Conan the Barbarian’, ‘The Grey’ (both in 2011), ‘Ender's Game’ (2013), ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ (2014), ‘Cinderella’, ‘Pan’ (both in 2015), ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ (2018), ‘Guava Island’ and ‘The Laundromat’ (both in 2019). In 2020, he will appear in an American science fantasy adventure movie ‘Artemis Fowl’.
His television career progressed simultaneously. In 2009, he became a part of ‘Occupation’, BBC TV three-part miniseries on 2003 Iraq War. The series, which was honoured at various award functions including ‘BAFTA Awards’, ‘Broadcasting Press Guild Awards’ and ‘Royal Television Society, UK’ 2) (RTS television Award), had him playing the role of US Marine turned private military contractor ‘Erik Lester’. In 2012, he appeared as ‘Xaro Xhoan Daxos’ in the hugely popular fantasy drama series ‘Game of Thrones’.
In the following year, he appeared in an episode of TV miniseries ‘The Bible’ and also became one of the lead cast of the British American horror drama series ‘Dracula’ (2013-2014). In 2015, yet another of his significant drama series ‘Zoo’ premiered on television. In this drama, which deals with the investigation of violent animal attacks on human all over the world, Nonso played the role of ‘Abraham Kenyatta’, a safari guide.
After this, in 2015, he appeared in three part Canadian American miniseries ‘Tut’ and in an episode of BBC science fiction show ‘Doctor Who’. The next year he worked in a tv movie ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’.
Apart from working in films and television, he has also lent his voice to various video games like ‘The Golden Compass’ (2007), ‘Brink’ (2011), ‘Remember Me’(2013) and ‘Dirty Bomb’(2015). Additionally, he worked for BBC Radio 4 radio play ‘Dreaming in Africa’ in 2006 and narrated ‘The Water Diviner's Tale’ at the Royal Albert Hall, BBC proms in 2007. In 2011, he also worked for BBC Radio4 adaption of Edna Ferber, ‘Showboat’.
Family & Personal Life
Nonso Anozie was born on 17 November 1978 in London, England. His parents originally hailed from south-eastern Igbo part of Nigeria and came to Britain for studies. He is the eldest child of his parents and has two younger sisters. He wanted to be an actor from the time he was eight years old when his teacher picked him to improvise part of a story and he absolutely loved the reactions he received on what he did.
When he was doing GCSEs and A levels, he began going to the National Theatre. He tried to get into Central School of Speech and Drama; however, he did not qualify the first time. Hence, he did another course for a year and then joined the Central School of Speech and Drama in his second attempt. After completing his studies, he joined Royal Shakespeare Company.
Anozie has always been fond of reading books. He grew up reading a number of fantasy books like ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Lion’ and ‘The Witch and the Wardrobe’.
His mother, who herself wanted to be a singer but could not do so, has been very supportive of his career.