Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali

Actor
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Life Story

MAHERSHALA ALI is fast becoming one of the freshest and most in-demand faces in Hollywood with his extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging background in film, television, and theater.

This past fall, Ali wrapped A24's Brad Pitt and Adele Romanski produced independent feature film, Moonlight, as well as reprised his role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, the fourth and final installment in the critically and commercially acclaimed Hunger Games franchise, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, and Julianne Moore. As District 13's Head of Security, 'Boggs' (Ali) guides and protects Katniss (Lawrence) through the final stages of the district's rebellion against the Capitol. Lionsgate released the film on November 20, 2015.

Ali will next star in Gary Ross's civil war era drama The Free State of Jones opposite Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Keri Russell. STX Entertainment will release the film on May 13, 2016.

On television, Ali was recently cast in Netflix and Marvel Entertainment's Luke Cage in the role of Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. A Harlem nightclub owner, Stokes will become an unexpected foe in Luke's life when Stokes' criminal activities threaten Luke's world. Ali stars alongside Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson, and Alfre Woodard. The series will premiere on Netflix in 2016.

Ali can be seen on the award-winning Netflix original series House of Cards, where he will reprise his fan-favorite role as lobbyist and former press secretary Remy Danton for a fourth season in March 2016.

Ali's previous feature film credits include Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines opposite Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, Wayne Kramer's Crossing Over starring Harrison Ford, John Sayles' Go For Sisters, and David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

On television, he appeared opposite Julia Ormond in Lifetime's The Wronged Man for which he subsequently received a NAACP Nomination for Best Actor. Ali also had a large recurring role on Syfy's Alphas, as well as the role of Richard Tyler, a Korean War pilot, on the critically acclaimed drama The 4400 for three seasons.

Family

Amatus Sami-Karim (27 June 2013 - present) ( 1 child)

Trivia

Received his bachelor of arts degree in mass communications from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California.
The name "Mahershalalhashbaz" is from the Book of Isaiah (chapter 8, verse 3) in the Hebrew Bible. It is the longest proper name (ordered by God to be given to the newborn prophet's son) that appears in the bible and is, in fact, a combination of four words: "Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz," meaning "Hurry to the spoils!" or "He has made haste to the plunder!".
Is a respected rapper in the hip hop community, having collaborated and performed with notable artists such as Talib Kweli, Planet Asia, Keith Murray, and others.
Received his MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Ali has twice played the father to children with unusual (supernatural) aging issues: as Richard Tyler in The 4400 (2004), his character's daughter, Isabelle, goes from infancy to adulthood in a single episode, and as Tizzy in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), he plays the adoptive father of a child who is born old and ages backwards.
He is the son of Willicia (Goines) and Phillip F. Gilmore. His father has acted and his mother is a Christian minister. Raised a Christian, Ali later converted to Islam.
As of 2017, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Moonlight (2016) and Hidden Figures (2016). Of those, Moonlight (2016) is a winner in the category.
Revealed during his SAG Award speech in 2017 that he is a Muslim and converted to Islam 17 years earlier. He also mentioned in the same speech that his mother is an ordained minister.
Became a father for the 1st time at age 43 when his wife Amatus Sami-Karim gave birth to their daughter Bari Najma Ali on February 22, 2017.

Personal Quotes 

'Mahershala' is my nickname.
At that moment in time when we feel like the other, we were not the person embraced, not one of the cool kids, not in the club - when you're that person, it makes you feel smaller, and when they persecute you as a result, that's a difficult position to be in.
Who is that person that comes around and says, 'You are OK, you are worthy, you are special?' That makes all the difference in the world for many of us. Those are the people we appreciate the most.
I have had that same experience where there are several people who have come up in my life at the right time and have made critical contributions to how I see the world and how I see myself.
Your life, your circumstances change, and you have to continue to grow as a person, and once you have means and opportunity, you have to make different choices to protect what you have.
My friends in college, several of whom are still my closest companions, would tell you that I was almost obsessed with becoming - fixated on creating - the future that I envisioned for myself: one of expanding to know my fullest self, which I have in no way achieved.
In my humble opinion, the ages 22 to about 27 are the most critical years of your adult life. It's your time to gestate in the cocoon of becoming.
Understand that we are all co-creators of our respective destinies.
I do believe that there are creative chakras or different sorts of energy centers.
Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.
Cottonmouth is the result of having to react to his circumstances. He had to, in some ways, take control of the situation and own his circumstances. But as a result of that, he became a person he didn't intend to become.

Filmography

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