Actor Adam Davenport (left) and Kate Hudson (center) star in writer-director-producer Rian Johnson’s standalone mystery sequel, ‘Glass Onion.’
One of the most emotionally gripping, memorable aspects of Rian Johnson’s Oscar-nominated movie franchise, ‘Knives Out,’ is the stellar interweaving of quirky, off-beat and eccentric characters with the serious nature of a murder mystery. Critically acclaimed actor, Adam Davenport is one of the numerous performers who helped make the series’ recent sequel, ‘Glass Onion,’ even more engaging with his electrifying portrayal of a model.
Davenport appeared in a small supporting role in a party scene with one of the acclaimed drama’s leading stars, Kate Hudson. The Oscar-nominated actress plays Birdie Jay, a hedonistic former supermodel turned Manhattan-based fashion designer, in ‘Glass Onion.’
As part of his work in the ensemble cast of the follow-up to 2019’s ‘Knives Out,’ Davenport won a Satellite Award for Best Ensemble, Motion Picture. The cast also received Best Ensemble wins from Atlanta Film Critics Circle, Boston Online Film Critics Association, Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, New York Film Critics Online (for which I’m a Governing Committee Member), Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards.
Playing a supporting character in ‘Glass Onion’ alongside not only Hudson, but also such fellow A-listers as Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. and Dave Bautista has helped put Davenport’s name on the radar for future Hollywood studio projects. While he has been starring in short films, features and television series since he graduated from Yale University, the sequel has finally legitimized him as an actor.
The actor was praised for the precision of his delivery alongside Hudson during their scene together. Davenport chose to play his character as a guest who didn’t want to be at the party, which was a bold choice that infused the scene with more nuanced layers. Johnson, who wrote, directed and produced ‘Glass Onion,’ like its predecessor, helped validate the performer by trusting him to utilize the acting skills he’s built playing smaller supporting roles throughout his career.
With Johnson having complete faith in Davenport’s choices as an actor, the latter should have a chance to carry a film as a protagonist or lead character. All the roles he has previously played in movies have been in service of another character’s journey. But from his performance in ‘Glass Onion,’ it’s apparent that he has a versatile range of skills that should be explored in a lead role. Even though he has played smaller roles, he always immerses himself into each character, and makes the necessary changes, whether in the character’s voice or physical behavior, to fit each situation.
One of Davenport’s mentors is Academy Award-nominated actress-producer Sally Kirkland. The acclaimed actress recognized that he has the physical features of a model/bodybuilder, but with emotional range of a character actor.
That combination prevents the performer from being typecast into any particular role or genre. He can be nuanced and understated, while also being funny and quirky and undergoing his noteworthy physical transformations. His excellent range can be exceptionally seen in his dramatic role of Lydia in the 2016 short, ‘Cleanse Pest, Rest.’
In an effort to diversify and expand his acting opportunities, Davenport left the United States and relocated to Eastern Europe in 2020. He became one of the first actors of African descent to work in Serbian cinema.
Two of the actor’s ‘Glass Onion’ co-stars, Norton and Hahn, also attended Yale. However, the drama’s casting department wasn’t aware of Davenport’s prior connections to his fellow ‘Knives Out’ franchise actors when he was cast in the feature, which was shot in Serbia.
Davenport has collaborated with some of the most respected helmers in the Balkan region, including Stevan Filipovic and Rados Bajic. One of his most recent roles was playing real-life World War II pilot James Alonzo in the biographical historical drama, ‘Heroji Halijarda.’ The film is being helmed by legendary Serbian filmmaker Rados Bajic and is currently in post-production.
Scribe-director Stevan Filipovic has also cast Davenport in the action adventure drama ‘Pored Nas (Next to Us),’ the sequel to his feature ‘Pored Mene (Next to Me),’ which won Best Film at FEST International Film Festival. The latter movie, which was shot in Serbia, was the country’s highest grossing feature of the year when it was released in 2015. Filipovic also hired Davenport as the acting coach for the film.
African Americans going to Europe to be taken more seriously as artists is a pattern that began with Josephine Baker, Marian Anderson and Donna Summer. With Davenport is now continuing that legacy, Serbia given him honorary citizenship, an honor which is only shared by two other actors – Steven Seagal and Ralph Fiennes.
The European Film Academy has also taken notice of Davenport’s talent, and offered him membership into their actors branch. The esteemed peer group also includes Craig, Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Penelope Cruz, Viggo Mortensen, Mads Mikkelsen, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and Michael Caine.
Besides acting, Davenport is also the Founder and Artistic Director of The International Acting Studio (TIAS), which operates studios in Belgrade and Budapest. The studio oversees the coaching and development of nearly 100 actors in Europe, including such well-established performers as Jelena Gavrilovic, Slaven Doslo, Andrea Osvart, Kata Dobo and Barnabas Reti. Davenport has helped actors from the region secure roles in international productions, including ‘The Crown’ for Netflix, and studio projects for Universal, Sony, Amazon Prime and Legendary Pictures.
Davenport, who’s also a member of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, is the only acting teacher in Serbia and Hungary who’s certified to teach the Oscar-winning Chubbuck Technique. He was trained and certified directly by Ivana Chubbuck herself, who’s one of the most famous and influential acting teachers living today.
With European filmmakers taking Davenport so seriously as an actor, Hollywood should follow suit and also offer him his big studio break-out role. While he waits for that opportunity, he will continue appreciating and making the most out of the mall parts that are offered to him and have defined his career thus far.
Actor Adam Davenport