Despite the article I linked to in a post a couple of days ago that lamented the lack of work for black British actors in the UK, and their emigration to the USA in order to find work, Sophie Okonedo is one of those near-universally acclaimed back British actresses who has been noticeably absent from our screens, both big and small, in recent years.
The last film she made stateside was 2008's The Secret Life Of Bees. Actually, the last big screen film she had a role in, regardless of origin, was also produced in 2008 - a film called Skin, which we covered on this site. It's traveled a bit since then, so it might seem much more current than that, but that's really the year the film was initially screened. It was officially released in USA theaters in the fall of 2009.
Since then, her name really hasn't come up for any stateside projects, not even in consideration, or in the running for any parts that I'm aware of. Everything else she's done has originated in the UK - mostly roles in British TV series, and 1 TV movie in which she played Winnie Mandela.
And that trend continues with the recent announcement that she's joined the cast of the UK's premium entertainment channel Sky1 HD fantasy drama series based on the iconic adventurer, Sinbad.
13 hour-long episodes have been commissioned of the new series, budgeted at 17 million pounds ($27 million), which will follow Sinbad’s sea-bound journey after he is forced to flee from his home town of Basra, under a curse.
Currently shooting in Malta, Sinbad is scheduled to air in 2012.
Okonedo, who'll play Razia, Queen of the Water-Thieves, joins a cast that includes some well-known faces in Naveen Andrews and Timothy Spall.
I'm not intimately familiar with Sinbad lore to recall a Razia, Queen of the Water-Thieves, and a Google search returned nothing, so I'm not entirely sure what the role involves. But maybe one of you out there can enlighten the rest of us.
A newcomer straight out of drama school, 20 year old Elliot Knight, will play the title role.