|Born||Mohamed Abid Hondo
May 4, 1936
|Occupation||film director, producer, screenwriter, actor and voice actor|
Med Hondo (born Mohamed Abid Hondo, May 4, 1936) is a Mauritanian film director, producer, screenwriter, actor and voice actor. He emigrated to France in 1959 and began to work in film during the 1960s. He received critical acclaim for his 1967 directorial début Soleil O.
Hondo was born in 1936 in Ain Oul Beri Mathar in the Atar region of Mauritania. His mother was Mauritanian and his father Senegalese. In 1954 Hondo went to live in Rabat, Morocco, to train to become a chef at the International Hotel School there. He emigrated to France in 1959 and found work first in Marseilles and then in Paris, variously as a cook, farm labourer, waiter, dockworker and delivery man. He found that he, and other African immigrants, were unable to find jobs in their chosen professions, and in the menial jobs they could find, were paid less than the French. The difficulty of making a living during this time, as well as racism he experienced, eventually provided inspiration for his films, including Soleil O and Les 'bicots-Nègres' vos voisins.
Hondo began to take classes in acting and directing, and studied under French actress Françoise Rosay, acting in classic plays by Shakespeare, Molière and Jean Racine. He was unable to fully express himself with French repertoire theatre, and in 1966 formed his own theatre company with Guadeloupean actor Robert Liensol. Named Shango (from Shango, the Yoruba god of thunder), and later Griot-Shango, the company produced plays relating more to the experiences of Black people, including work by René Depestre, Aimé Césaire, Daniel Boukman and Guy Menga.
In the late 1960s, Hondo started taking small roles in television and films. At the same time, he began to learn the craft of film making by careful observation of the work of others, and began to get work behind the camera. He began his first film, Soleil O, in 1965. Made on a budget of $30,000, it was financed by Hondo's work dubbing American films into French. Soleil O played during International Critics' Week at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, where it received critical acclaim. It received a Golden Leopard Award at the 1970 Locarno International Film Festival. In 1981 he was a member of the jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival.
Some of Hondo's acting work has been as a voice actor, in films and television series such as Funky Cops and Asterix and the Vikings. He has worked on the dubbing of many English language films into French, voicing characters of Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover (on the rare occasions when he was not dubbed by white actor Richard Darbois), Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley. He has dubbed several of Eddie Murphy's films, including The Nutty Professor and the part of Donkey in 2001's Shrek.
Med Hondo explains on his website  that he met with Danny Glover in 1991 and exposed his then current project to him: a biopic of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture. An enthusiastic Glover would have then voiced his interest in playing the main part and taking part in the production, before cutting all communication with Hondo and co-writer Claude Veillot. Hondo now claims that Glover's current Louverture biopic project, financially backed by Hugo Chavez, was inspired by his own original screenplay and Hondo addressed an open letter to Glover in which he denies assertions from Glover's "Louverture Films" company that the script was a commission paid by Glover to Hondo. Hondo also mentions his meeting with Glover in an English-spoken interview on French international news channel France 24.
- 1967: Soleil O
- 1974: Les 'bicots-Nègres' vos voisins (Arabs and Niggers, Your Neighbours)
- 1975: Sahel la faim pourquoi
- 1979: West Indies
- 1986: Sarraounia
- 1994: Lumière noire (Black Light)
- 1998: Watani, un monde sans mal
- 2004: Fatima, l'Algérienne de Dakar
- 1964: Les verts pâturages
- 1965: Bob Morane as Notomi (television series; two episodes)
- 1965: Belphégor as Gaillac (television series)
- 1965: Seule à Paris (television series)
- 1966: Retour à Bacoli as Un tirailleur (television series)
- 1967: Un homme de trop as Florent
- 1968: Tante Zita as James
- 1969: A Walk with Love and Death as Entertainer
- 1974: Aux frontières du possible as Le docteur Sosian Cisse (television series)
- 1975: Jo Gaillard as Carlos (television series)
- 1977: The Ambassadors as Med
- 1989–1991: Commissaire Moulin as Max (television series; three episodes)
- 1990: 1871 as Karl Marx
- 1997: La divine poursuite as le pilote
- 2000: Antilles sur Seine as Horace
- 2003: Funky Cops as Ace (television series; voice)
- 2006: Asterix and the Vikings as pirate lookout (voice)
- 2006: Incontrôlable as Rex (voice)
- 1982: Gandhi as Ben Kingsley's Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
- 1984: Best Defense as Eddie Murphy's Lieutenant T.M. Landry
- 1994: The Lion King as Rafiki
- 1995: Se7en as Morgan Freeman's Detective Lt. William Somerset
- 1996: The Nutty Professor as Eddie Murphy's Sherman Klump
- 2001: Samurai Jack as Aku
- 2001: Shrek as Eddie Murphy's Donkey
- 2004: Shrek 2 as Donkey
- 2007: Shrek the Third as Donkey
- Biography, official site.
- Sherzer (1996), p. 173.
- Ukadike (2002), p. 57.
- Sherzer (1996), p. 174.
- Murphy (2007), p. 71.
- Ukadike (2002), p. 58.
- Sherzer (1996), p. 175.
- Reid (1986).
- Harvard Film Archive.
- Locarno International Film Festival official site.
- "12th Moscow International Film Festival (1981)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
- l'Humanité (1997).
- Canadian Online Explorer (2002).
- Med Hondo's open letter to Danny Glover (French and English).
- Med Hondo Interview on France 24 channel (English).
- Murphy, David; Patrick Williams (2007). Postcolonial African cinema: ten directors. Manchester University Press. pp. 71–90. ISBN 0-7190-7203-4.
- Reid, Mark; Blum, Sylvie (March 31, 1986). "Med Hondo interview: Working abroad". Jump Cut. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- Sherzer, Dina; Madeleine Cottenet-Hage (1996). Cinema, colonialism, postcolonialism: perspectives from the French and francophone world. University of Texas Press. pp. 173–187. ISBN 0-292-77703-5.
- Ukadike, Nwachukwu Frank (2002). Questioning African cinema: conversations with filmmakers. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 57–72. ISBN 0-8166-4004-1.
- "Shrek adapté par Sam Mendes" (in French). Canadian Online Explorer. 17 October 2002. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- "Directors in Focus — African Perspectives: Med Hondo". Harvard Film Archive. 2006. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- "Eddie Murphy change de voix, Med Hondo évincé". l'Humanité (in French). 9 April 1997. Archived from the original on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
- "Winners of the Golden Leopard". Locarno International Film Festival Official Site. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
- "Biography". Med Hondo's Official Site. Retrieved 24 August 2009.