Isaach de Bankolé
With chiseled, sphinx-like features, Isaach DeBankolé is a striking presence in the independent film world. Born on the Ivory Coast of Africa, he moved to Paris to study engineering. The acting bug bit him there and, at the age of 19, he landed his first starring role in the cross-cultural Thomas Gilou comedy "Black Mic Mac" (1986). Two years later, he was working with internationally acclaimed director Claire Denis on her celebrated "Chocolat," an interracial romantic drama set amidst the prejudices of colonial French Cameroon. In '91 he began a career-long collaboration with the godfather of modern indies, director Jim Jarmusch. First playing a put-upon cabbie in the "Paris" segment of the slice-of-life anthology "Night on Earth," he later accumulated similar roles in the urban fable "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" and the "No Problem" segment of 2003's "Coffee and Cigarettes," a filmic collection of conversational vignettes. These smaller roles culminated in a lead part in Jarmusch's moody crime piece "The Limits of Control" ('09). He has also worked with famed director Nicolas Roeg on a television version of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," with Marc Forster in the mind-bending "Stay," and with Julian Schnabel in the extraordinary biopic "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." DeBankolé is known to a far wider audience as Ule Matobo, the president of the fictional country Sangala on season seven of the explosively popular action series "24."