"The best piece of career advice I've ever been given is to take your highs in the same way that you take your lows," Kingsley Ben-Adir tells us. "Just stay level."
Those words are likely to come in handy for the actor, whose star is currently significantly in the ascendant. Following a successful stint on stage and performances in TV favourites Vera and Peaky Blinders, Ben-Adir landed the career-defining role of Malcolm X in 2020's One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King in her feature film directorial debut.
The story follows a fictionalised account of a real evening that took place between Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke in 1964 in Miami, in which they discuss the civil rights movement.
"One Night in Miami - Regina King, Malcom X - was the job that changed my life," he says. "Just the way I look at the work and process the work; the experience was nothing like I've ever had so far."
The actor's latest accolade comes courtesy of BAFTA, which has shortlisted Ben-Adir as one of this year's EE Rising Star Award finalists - alongside Bukky Bakray, Morfydd Clark, Conrad Khan and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. The eventual winner will be chosen by the British public.
"It feels nice - it's a nice feeling," he laughs. "Some of my favourite actors and actresses have been nominees: Jessie Buckley, LaKeith Stanfield, Michael Fassbender... So many people whose work I look forward to seeing. It's pretty dope."
But what if his career hadn't turned out quite so successfully?
"If I wasn't an actor my dream career would be... a Premier League football player," he says. "That must be the sickest job, especially when the stadiums are full. Yeah, probably a footballer, or a jazz musician. When I was in New York I used to spend nights in all the jazz clubs down in the West Village."
From his guilty pleasure to his strangest audition experience and what makes him happiest, discover everything you don't know about Kingsley Ben-Adir in our exclusive video above.
Public voting for the EE Rising Star Award is now open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA and the winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 11 April 2021.
You Might Also Like