John Kani

South African actor and filmmaker John Kani made his big screen debut as a sergeant opposite industry veterans Richard Burton, Roger Moore, and Richard Harris in "The Wild Geese," a 1978 action flick in which a group of experienced mercenaries attempt to overthrow a dictator in the heart of Africa. Following a myriad of moderate successes in the 1980s, Kani enjoyed a bona fide hit with "Sarafina!" in 1992. Headlined by Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg, the musical drama cast Kani as a school principal in his native South Africa. In 1996, director Stephen Hopkins tapped Kani to play Samuel, a native African assisting in the hunt of two deadly lions in the period thriller "The Ghost and the Darkness," starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. Kani's character provides the film's memorable narration. Kani made his directorial debut in 2009, an adaptation of his play "Nothing But the Truth," which is set amidst the social turmoil of post-apartheid South Africa. Kani also played the lead role in the film. The veteran actor's penchant for theater caught the eye of Academy Award-winner Ralph Fiennes, who cast Kani as General Cominius of the Roman army in his big screen mounting of "Coriolanus," based on the classic Shakespeare play.