From Django Unchained to Batman vs Superman to Tears of the Sun, and currently starring in Ron Howard’s TV show MARS, Sammi Rotibi has found success in exploring a variety of roles and genres over the course of his career, leaving many surprised by the fact that acting was not a part of his original plan. “My career plan was to be an architect,” said Sammi. “My friends from secondary and I made plans to become architects. Don’t ask me why (laughs).”
Originally from Nigeria and one of the youngest of numerous half siblings on both sides, Sammi’s family valued choosing a reliable career path over gambling on dreams. “They did not have any impact on what path I would take in my career, because African parents are very strict. Being an artist is not an option. It’s considered a hobby. Not a career. You’re either a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc… So your future is basically planned for you.” Nevertheless, Sammi’s love of cinema dates back to the movies he watched as a kid with his father. “I remember when I was 7 or 8 watching James Bond movies with my dad and old Clint Eastwood westerns like ‘Hang ‘Em High.’ I wanted to be James Bond so bad. Even Clint Eastwood.”
Though his passion for acting didn’t fully blossom until much later, Sammi’s journey began as he followed in the footsteps of his older siblings and left Nigeria for Miami when he was 16. “All my brothers and sisters are spread out around the world – Europe, US, Africa. We’re world travelers. My closest brother lives in LA, which is why I came here in the first place, for Spring Break. Then got sprung and moved back (laughs).” While he has come far since he moved to the US, Sammi has never turned his back on his roots. “It’s changed quite a lot from what I remember as a kid, but Nigeria is still my genesis and foundation.” Apart from acting, Sammi has a deep love for both playing and watching football, or what Americans call “soccer.” “My favorite team is Man United. Red devils forever!”
Among Sammi’s upcoming projects are The Darkest Minds and El Africano, both set for release later this year. Above all else, Sammi hopes to continue to find work that he loves. “In five years I still want to be creating characters on film and in TV. Having fun playing. Enjoying what I do. Never losing the kid in me. (Laughs).”
DARKEST MINDS opens in Theaters across America on August 3rd.