Jovan Adepo

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Jovan Adepo
Jovan Adepo FENCES Interview.jpg
Adepo interviewed about Fences in 2016
Born (1988-09-06) September 6, 1988 (age 34)
NationalityAmerican and British
Alma materBowie State University
Years active2012–present

Jovan Adepo (born September 6, 1988) is a British-American actor.[1] He is known for his role as Cory Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences (2016), and also had starring roles in the 2018 film Overlord and as Lionel Jefferson in CBS' All in the Family/The Jeffersons special. Adepo was featured in the series When They See Us, the second season of Jack Ryan, and the Facebook series Sorry for Your Loss.[2] He plays Michael Murphy in the HBO series The Leftovers and in 2019 appeared in Watchmen as Hooded Justice.[3] For the latter, he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He also starred as Larry Underwood in the miniseries of Stephen King's The Stand.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Adepo was born in 1988 in Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire. His mother is a British Nigerian from London,[5] while his father is an African American from Chattanooga, Tennessee.[6] His maternal grandfather Fatai Adepo was special adviser to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.[7] He moved to the United States with his family at the age of 2.[1] Raised in Waldorf, Maryland, he acted in school and church plays.[6]

He attended college at Bowie State University in Maryland, receiving his B.A. in political science and philosophy.[6] While studying political science, he began taking creative writing classes. He later decided he wanted to move to Los Angeles to become a writer. He started doing commercial workshops to supplement income.[1]


Early workshops and roles[edit]

He moved to Los Angeles in 2011 after receiving his bachelor's degree in political science. His first acting job for the Disney Channel on K.C. Undercover.[7] To make ends meet, he took acting classes in order to book commercials. Here, he grew an interest in becoming an actor. Adepo studied acting under the tutelage of a variety of notable instructors, including Dianne Hull of the Actors Studio.[6] Through church in Maryland he met Viola Davis's older sister, who helped him get in contact with Davis. It was Davis who put Adepo on the path to studying the right techniques, seeing plays, and reading as many plays as he could.[8][9]

Film and television roles[edit]

He was part of Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons. He played the role of Lionel Jefferson.[10] The special was conceptualized and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, and the team took home the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).[11] In 2016 he starred in Fences alongside Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.[12] In Fences he stars as Cory Maxson, the son of the main characters played by Davis and Washington.[13] Adepo was "the only member of the Fences cast who did not star in the play's 2010 Broadway revival before it made the jump to feature film."[14]

In 2017, he appeared as the central character[15] along with Wyatt Russell in Overlord, both playing American paratroopers confronted by Nazi super soldiers.[16] By 2017, he was also a series regular on The Leftovers on HBO,[16] appearing in the second and third seasons.[17] Adepo performed in the 2017 horror film Mother! by Darren Aronofsky.[18]

In May 2019, he appeared as the adult Anton McCray in When They See Us, nominated for an Emmy, about the Central Park Five.[10] In September 2019, he was cast as Larry Underwood in an upcoming version of Stephen King's The Stand.[4] As of November 2019, he was in Vancouver shooting The Stand.[11] In November 2019, he appeared as the central character in the sixth episode of Watchmen, playing the world's first superhero Hooded Justice.[3] Also in November 2019, he was in an unreleased independent film called Violent Heart, to be released in 2020.[11] He was named one of Dazed Magazine's "Dazed 100".[19]

In March 2021, he was cast to star in Babylon.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
2016 Fences Cory Maxson Nominated—Black Reel Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2017 Mother! Cupbearer
2018 Overlord Private Edward Boyce
2020 The Violent Heart Daniel
2022 Babylon Post-production
TBA Misanthrope Mackenzie Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2015–2017 The Leftovers Michael Murphy 11 episodes
2016 NCIS: Los Angeles Emmanuel Salim Episode: "Revenge Deferred"
2018–2019 Sorry for Your Loss Danny Greer Main cast
2019 Jack Ryan Marcus Bishop Main cast
2019 Live in Front of a Studio Audience Lionel Jefferson Episode: "Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons"
2019 When They See Us Antron McCray Miniseries
2019 Watchmen Will Reeves/Hooded Justice Episode: "This Extraordinary Being"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
2020 The Stand Larry Underwood Miniseries, 10 episodes
2020 5150[21] Celeb TV Short
TBA The Three-Body Problem Upcoming series


  1. ^ a b c Ryanski, Nate (November 25, 2019). "GIVING AN ORIGIN STORY JUSTICE". Flaunt Magazine.
  2. ^ Gunderson, Alexis (October 15, 2019). "Sorry for Your Loss: Jovan Adepo on Danny's Grief and Season Two Journey". Paste Magazine. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b McHenry, Jackson (November 24, 2019). "Watchmen's Jovan Adepo on (Literally) Sharing a Role With Regina King". Vulture - New York Magazine. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Vargas, Chanel (September 22, 2019). "Jovan Adepo Will Play Larry Underwood in Stephen King's The Stand". PopSugar. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Jovan Adepo on Overlord, fanboy racism and Denzel Washington". November 8, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel" (PDF). Robey Theatre Company. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Chima, Chidi (December 24, 2016). "Meet Jovan Adepo, grandson of Obasanjo's late SA and Denzel Washington's co-star". The Cable. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  8. ^ Oller, Jacob (December 23, 2016). ""We're Making It Music." An Interview with Fences Stars Jovan Adepo and Stephen Henderson". FilmSchoolRejects. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Brown, Emma (December 20, 2016). "The Scene Stealer". Interview Magazine. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Thompson, Avery (September 21, 2019). "'When They See Us' Star Jovan Adepo: It Was 'Incredible' To Have Antron McCray's Blessing". Hollywood Life. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Mastrandrea, Paige (November 25, 2019). "One-On-One With Rising Star Jovan Adepo On Past, Current And Future Projects". Haute Living. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  12. ^ Frederick, Candice (October 25, 2018). "'Sorry for Your Loss' star Jovan Adepo talks mental illness and self-care". AM New York. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (March 20, 2017). "'Fences' Actor Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell to Star in World War II Drama 'Overlord'". Variety. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  14. ^ Kosin, Julie (January 9, 2017). "'Fences' Breakout Star Jovan Adepo on Learning from Denzel & Dinner Dates with Viola Davis". Harpers Bazaar. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  15. ^ "'Fences' Star Jovan Adepo Lands Another Exciting Role". Ebony. March 20, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Galuppo, Mia (March 20, 2017). "Wyatt Russell, Jovan Adepo to Star in Bad Robot's WWII Supernatural Thriller". Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  17. ^ Butcher, John (March 15, 2017). "Sons and Fathers: A Talk with Jovan Adepo of FENCES and THE LEFTOVERS". LA Screenwriter. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  18. ^ Saffold-Geri, Joshua (January 15, 2020). "The Ever-Humble Jovan Adepo". Bleu Magazine. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  19. ^ Taylor, Trey (April 6, 2017). "Dazed 100 - Jovan Adepo". Dazed. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  20. ^ ‘Fences’ Star Jovan Adepo Joins Ensemble Of Damien Chazelle’s ‘Babylon’ At Paramount
  21. ^ "'5150' To Explore Mental Health Within The Black Community, Toxic Power Of Celebrity". Shadow and Act. Retrieved July 5, 2020.

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