Isaach de Bankolé

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Isaach de Bankolé
Isaach De Bankolé, 2009.jpg
Isaach de Bankolé in Karlovy Vary (2009)
Zachari Bankolé

(1957-08-12) 12 August 1957 (age 63)
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Years active1984–present

Zachari Bankolé[1] (born 12 August 1957), known as Isaach or Isaac de Bankolé, is an Ivorian-French-American actor.[2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

De Bankolé was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Yoruba parents from Benin.[5] His grandparents are from Nigeria.[6] He moved to Paris in 1975 for his last year of lycée, and pursued a master's degree in physics and mathematics. He then attended an aviation school and earned a private pilot licence, before a chance encounter with French director Gérard Vergez led him to enroll in the Cours Simon, a Parisian drama school.[7]


De Bankolé has appeared in over fifty films, including Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Coffee and Cigarettes and The Limits of Control.[8] He has been based in the United States since 1997.[5] He appeared in the movie Machetero, in the role of journalist interviewing an imprisoned Puerto Rican revolutionary, along with the members of the New York City-based punk band Ricanstruction.

De Bankolé has also appeared in Lars von Trier's Manderlay. He portrayed Steven Obanno, a terrorist, in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, and "The Lone Man", an assassin in Jim Jarmusch's film, The Limits of Control (2009).[9] In 2013, he starred as Ayodele Balogun in Andrew Dosunmu's Mother of George, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was the closing night selection for Maryland Film Festival 2013. He has also had roles in Calvary, The Last Witch Hunter, and Black Panther.

Personal life[edit]

De Bankolé is fluent in Yoruba, Bambara, English, French, German, and speaks some Italian.[5] He was married to musician Cassandra Wilson from 2000 to 2003.


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Asphalt Warriors The Blackie
Comment draguer tous les mecs Honoré Clair
1986 Black Mic Mac Lemi César Award for Most Promising Actor
Taxi Boy Touré
Noir et Blanc
1987 Lady Cops Inspector Blaise Lacroix
1988 Chocolat Protée
Ada dans la jungle Bumbo Gérard Zingg
1989 How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired The Old
Vanille fraise Hippolyte N'Go Also writer
1990 No Fear, No Die Dah
1991 Night on Earth The Driver
1992 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Sgt. Barthelmy TV series (1 episode)
1993 Heart of Darkness Mfumu TV movie
1994 Down to Earth Leão
1995 The Keeper Jean Baptiste
1998 A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries Mamadou
1999 Otomo Frederic Otomo
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Raymond
Cherry Menu Man
2000 Bàttu Saar
2001 3 A.M. Angus
The Sopranos Father Obosi TV series (1 episode, "Amour Fou")
2003 Coffee and Cigarettes Isaach
The Killing Zone Malcolm New York VisionFest - Outstanding Achievement Award - Acting
2004 From Other Worlds Abraham
Homework Jean
2005 Manderlay Timothy
Stay Professor
The Skeleton Key Gas Station Owner
Before It Had a Name Waiter
L'évangile selon Aîmé Aîmé TV movie
2006 Casino Royale Steven Obanno
Miami Vice Neptune
5up 2down Hunter
The Unit General Togar TV series (1 episode)
2007 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Laurent
Battle in Seattle Abasi
The Fifth Patient Captain Mugambe
2008 The Guitar Roscoe Wasz
Machetero Jean Dumont
24: Redemption President Ule Matobo TV movie
2009 White Material The Boxer
The Limits of Control The Lone Man
24 President Ule Matobo TV series (6 episodes)
2010 I Am Slave Bah TV movie
Getting High! Hunter Short
2011 Oka ! Bassoun
2012 Désordres Vincent
2013 Mother of George Ayodele Balogun
The Ordained Mr. Obiku TV movie
2014 Calvary Simon
Run Assa Nominated - Trophees du Cinema - Best Supporting Actor
Mirage Francis
Where the Road Runs Out George
White Collar Luc Renaud TV series (2 episodes)
2015 The Last Witch Hunter Max Schlesinger
The Good Wife Larry Oliver TV series (1 episode)
2016 Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer Jacques
2017 Double Play Ernesto
2018 Black Panther River Tribe Elder
2019 Shaft Pierro 'Gordito' Carrera
2020 French Exit Julius


Year Title Author Director Notes
1986 Quay West Bernard-Marie Koltès Patrice Chéreau Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers
1987 Dans la solitude des champs de coton Bernard-Marie Koltès Patrice Chéreau (2) Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers
1988 Le Retour au désert Bernard-Marie Koltès Patrice Chéreau (3) Théâtre Renaud-Barrault
1989 La Force d'aimer Martin Luther King Jr. Patrice Chéreau (4) Théâtre Renaud-Barrault



  1. ^ "JORF No. 84 du 8 avril 2007, p. 6583, texte No. 3". Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Isaach De Bankolé: De Black Mic Mac à Black Panther". NOFI. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  3. ^ "New York Times". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Isaach De Bankolé An Unexpected Gentleman". MADMUSEUM. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Segun Oguntola (6 June 2011). "Isaach De Bankolé: A Flower of the Tribe". Nigerians in America. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  6. ^ "Jim Jarmusch interviews Isaach De Bankole" (in German). Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  7. ^ Bélanger, Denis (June–August 1989). "Entretien avec Isaach de Bankolé" (PDF). Ciné-Bulles. p. 38. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  8. ^ "The Limits of Control". The Guardian. United Kingdom. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  9. ^ Dargis, Manohla (30 April 2009). "New York Times". Retrieved 2 April 2012.

External links[edit]