Great actors are chameleons who go from role to role bringing to life some of the most wildly diverse and complex characters.
Adetokumboh M’Cormack accomplishes this feat with an ease born of years of classical conservatory training that still feels so clearly innate with each performance.
As the compassionate Father Yemi in Lost, M’Cormack evoked genuine concern for his wellbeing when he first faces off against the physically intimidating Mr Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) before a smile revealed that he was never in any danger from Eko, who turned out to be his brother.
And in a blink and you miss it role in the second season of Heroes, M’Cormack played Tuko, an overzealous street thug who nearly kills a police officer he was meant to incapacitate. He later rushes, unbidden, to attack Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) whose electric powers stun Tuko and send him flying.
By the time we see Tuko’s sorrowful face, forlornly gazing at the burned body of Ricky (Holt McCallany), it becomes clear that M’Cormack has delivered a character whose loyal relationship to a white street-level criminal in Britain would have been worthy of further exploration.
M’Cormack then landed on the big screen playing Adikwu, the memorable Nigerian medical corpsman, in Battle: Los Angeles and is probably the only man to have been interrogated by Jethro Gibbs in NCIS, captured by Jack Bauer in 24, and knocked out by Captain America – no less – in the Winter Soldier. And it is this versatility, and ability to accomplish so much with so little in every portrayal, that is enough to remind audiences to keep an eye on Kofi’s character development as we await season two of Blood of Zeus.
How did you get the role of Kofi?
I got a call from my agent saying there’s this other really cool animated series about Greek mythology. And I said, okay, this is interesting. And so I went in and first I read the dialogue. And I was like, once again, [this is]a very robust, very complex character, who’s interesting and I was like, I kind of like him. I want to do this.
And I think the fact that I also have a relationship with Powerhouse Animation and Netflix, who also do Castlevania, I think helped. And they invited me onboard, and I’m so thankful to be able to play Kofi.
So Kofi and Evios bring great levity to the show, how did you develop that chemistry?
Do you know I don’t believe we’ve ever met. So yeah, right. Yeah. Imagine, imagine the magic of animation. So we’d ever met. We had? Well, we had someone else come in and do those roles or just do the dialogue for us. But we’d never met.
Did you record lines with any other actors, or was everything just sort of done in a vacuum?
Yeah. So typically, in animation, with the exception of certain scenes where there’s a lot of dialogue and banter going back and forth, you are alone in an audio booth. And well, we have a phenomenal voice director, who works on Castlevania and Blood of Zeus. Her name is Meredith lane.
And she’s feeding you the dialogue that basically is how it’s supposed to be delivered in the scene and how the writers and producers and directors would want the dialogue to be delivered. And she’s marvelous. She’s phenomenal. And so I work opposite her.
And I also have the director and producers and writers in my ear. He’ll be like, ” well try it more like this”! And you have like five or six people talking to you at the same time. But you deliver your lines to her and she’s responding and…
That’s awesome. So she’s kind of like a sounding board.
She’s a sounding board. Yeah. And then she’s like “do it more like this!” or “be more aggressive, have more levity”, for example. She has a very good understanding of the script and the scenes. So that’s why they have her. She’s the best. I mean, honestly, just the best.
Kofi is apparently an Ethiopian in this show which was a little bit of a surprise to me, because when he was introduced as Kofi I thought that was like Kofi, which is a Ghanaian name, I thought. But taking that into account, how many African nationalities have you played on screen? Do the specifics of the nationality mean anything to you when you do this?
Yeah, I mean, well, I’ve played a lot of African characters. And I love playing African characters simply because as I said earlier, we don’t typically get to see us portrayed in this way.
I know someone had once asked, “why doesn’t Kofi have more of an English accent?” But I was like, but why should he? He’s African. Why can’t we be proud of our African accent? So I like bringing that to my characters.
Would you like to see African pantheons referenced in blood of Zeus?
Hundred percent! Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think there’s a lot more in this world that we could explore. So yeah, absolutely. I would.
We previously played a Castlevania themed Fast Five questions with Adetokumboh M’Cormack here. Blood of Zeus is streaming now on Netflix.