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'Moonlight' Cast: Where Have You Seen The Stars Of The Oscar-Winning Film Before?

Who recorded a track with Prince? Who starred in 'James Bond'? And who makes their film debut in 'Moonlight'?

28/02/2017 17:10

It had already received plenty of buzz, but now that it’s been named Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards (eventually, after a bit of confusion that saw ‘La La Land’ briefly announced as the winner), ‘Moonlight’ is the film that everyone’s talking about.

From the cinematography to the representation and storytelling on screen, critics have almost unanimously lauded Barry Jenkins’ film, but it’s the actors who’ve received the most praise from cinema-goers and reviewers alike.

For those who’ve seen the film but were wondering where they’d seen certain members of the cast before, here’s our handy guide to their film credits prior to ‘Moonlight’...

Mahershala Ali

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Mahershala Ali is the first actor seen in ‘Moonlight’, and his performace as Juan won him the award for Best Supporting Actor at the 2017 Academy Awards.

‘House Of Cards’ fans will recognise Mahershala as Remy Danton, a role which started off fairly minor, but has risen to a more prominent position within the cast as the series progressed. He also portrayed Boggs, the personal bodyguard to Katniss Everdeen in ‘The Hunger Games’ saga.

You might also have caught his performance in another of the year’s biggest Oscar-nominated films, ‘Hidden Figures’, which co-starred fellow ‘Moonlight’ actor Janelle Monáe.

Naomie Harris - Paula

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Naomie Harris gives one of Moonlight’s stand-out performances as Paula, who struggles with drug addiction, and is one of two cast members to be nominated for an Oscar.

She’s definitely among the most prolific and recognisable members of the cast, largely due to having starred in the ‘James Bond’ franchise as Moneypenny, as well as playing Winnie Mandela in ‘The Long Walk To Freedom’, opposite Idris Elba.

Janelle Monáe - Teresa

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Janelle is one of the few actors to star in more than one of the film’s acts, playing Teresa in two separate time periods in the film.

While she’s well-established in the entertainment industry, she’s best known for her music career, with six Grammy nominations under her belt to date, as well as collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Duran Duran and Solange.

In 2012, she topped the UK singles chart in collaboration with fun. on their song ‘We Are Young’, and while her acting credentials are still in the low numbers, she won critical acclaim for her performance in ‘Hidden Figures’.

Alex Hibbert - Chiron (i. ‘Little’)

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Alex is one of three actors who plays the lead role of Chiron in ‘Moonlight’, portraying the character as a child.

Being just 12 years old, it’s understandable that Alex wouldn’t have the longest of CVs, but what might come is a surprise that his role in ‘Moonlight’ is his first ever acting credit.

Easy as that, eh?

Ashton Sanders - Chiron (ii. ‘Chiron’)

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Ashton is the second actor to portray Chiron, specifically playing him during his tumultuous teenage years, during which he makes several dramatic steps in his character development.

While you might know him from one episode of the Refinery29 web series ‘The Skinny’, and if you managed not to blink you’ll have also witness his performance as ‘Kid’ in ‘Straight Outta Compton’, ‘Moonlight’ is undoubtedly his biggest gig to date, but we don’t think the 21-year-old actor will have to look far for roles anymore.

Jharrel Jerome - Kevin (ii. ‘Chiron’)

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Jharrel’s performance as teenage Kevin is pivotal to the film’s narrative. He’s one of Moonlight’s lesser known stars, with his only other acting credit being as the narrator in ‘Wheels’, a short film about a teenager, who has recently become paralysed.

Trevante Rhodes - Chiron (iii. ‘Black’)

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Trevante previously auditioned for the role of Kevin, but wound up bagging the more principal part of Chiron, in his oldest incarnation, instead.

Prior to ‘Moonlight’, he appeared in the first episode of HBO’s ‘Westworld’, as well as bit parts in films, but what might surprise you is that he was also a track and field sprinter, even winning a gold medal in the Pan American Junior Championships in 2009.

André Holland - Kevin (iii. ‘Black’)

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Kevin is one of just two characters in ‘Moonlight’ to be played by multiple actors, with Andre Holland playing him in his adult state.

You might recognise him for playing activist Andrew Young in ‘Selma’, and sportswriter Wendell Smith in the film ‘42’. He’s also established in the small screen too, most recently in the latest (and scariest ever) series of ‘American Horror Story’, as Matt Miller in ‘Roanoke’.

‘Moonlight’ is out now in UK cinemas.

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