It is hard not to recognize Aldis Hodge these days. The star of director Regina King’s Amazon Prime original film, One Night in Miami, in which he plays football legend Jim Brown, seemed to earn a spot in Hollywood’s A-list overnight, and just recently. However, in reality, the multi-talented actor has spent much of his life in the business.\
From his scene-stealing starring role on the hit TNT series Leverage, star-making supporting turn in The Invisible Man, and acclaimed performance opposite Kevin Bacon in Showtime’s historical miniseries City on a Hill, it really is no wonder how the 34-year-old North Carolina native got the part of Hawkman in the upcoming Black Adam movie. Of course, like many other actors, Aldis Hodge came from humble beginnings, making small appearances in films and TV shows as a child, through his teens, and beyond, until becoming the sought-after talent he is today.
I imagine you are probably wondering where you might have seen Aldis Hodge pop up on the screen without even realizing it at the time. Well, I can help refresh your memory with 10 of the actor’s lesser-known roles on the big and small screen, below, starting with his truly explosive feature film debut.
Die Hard With A Vengeance (Raymond)
How many actors can say they played Samuel L. Jackson’s nephew in their very first movie? Aldis Hodge can, having appeared opposite the Oscar-nominee in 1995’s Die Hard with a Vengeance at 9 years old, in a scene before Jackson reluctantly becomes Bruce Willis’ partner against a terrorist bomber. Coincidentally, Hodge would appear in the action franchise’s fifth installment, A Good Day to Die Hard, but it might be a lost cause to find some canonical connection between the two roles.
Big Momma’s House (Basketball Teen #2)
Fun fact: Aldis Hodge’s brother, Edwin, also made his acting debut in Die Hard with a Vengeance before appearing in films like The Purge: Election Year, TV shows like Mayans M.C., and upcoming projects like The Tomorrow War. The siblings got to share the screen together again in 2000’s Big Momma’s House as a couple of young B-ball players challenged to a game by an undercover Martin Lawrence in drag.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Masked Teen)
Aldis Hodge and his brother also have roles in the Whedonverse in common. Edwin played Charles Gunn’s cousin Keenan on a 2000 episode of the David Boreanaz-led Angel, Aldis appeared a year earlier on the original series it is spun off from, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He plays an unnamed teenager whose plan to use his demon-like costume put Sarah Michelle Gellar’s titular heroine in better spirits on Halloween until it backfires painfully for him.
Supernatural (Jake Talley)
Years after playing a boy pretending to be a demon on Buffy, Aldis Hodge played a man actually given powers by a demon on Supernatural, in the series' Season 2, two-part finale. His character was initially an innocent soldier with mental manipulation powers, but suffered a tragic end after the yellow-eyed demon, Azazel, forced him into unleashing the Apocalypse.
Private Practice (Esau Ajawke)
Another one of Aldis Hodge's more emotional TV guest appearances comes from Season 3 of Private Practice - a spin-off from Grey's Anatomy. He plays a man who is diagnosed with tuberculosis and, as a result, faces deportation back to his home country of Kenya... right as his fiancée is about to give birth to their son.
ER (Brad Enloe/Young Man)
Private Practice was not the site of Aldis Hodge's first guest appearance on a medical drama, or even the second. Both of those spots would occur on ER, first in 1998 as a 12-year-old former leukemia patient admitted to Country General with just a sore throat, and secondly in 2003 as a teenager part of a group of insurgents holding Dr. Luka Kovac (Goran Visnjic) hostage in the Congo.
Happy Feet (Various)
Aldis Hodge has also found success as a voice actor, such as in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Cartoon Network's Mad, or The Proud Family on Disney Channel. However, he was most busy behind the mic when he lent his voice to Happy Feet, George Miller's Oscar-winning tale of singing and dancing penguins, as a multitude of characters without names.
The Walking Dead (Mike)
For a while, no name was given to Aldis Hodge's character in The Walking Dead (which was not actually played by him at the time) until the ninth episode of its fourth season, in which much of the group is forced by the Governor's heinous attack to flee the prison. Michonne (Danai Gurira) begins to have terrifying visions from her past, revealing that her two armless, defanged Walker pets were once her boyfriend, Mike (Hodge), and his best friend Terry (Brandon Fobbs).
Cold Case (Mason “Runner” Tucker)
Of course, The Walking Dead was not the first TV series to see Aldis Hodge play a person in a flashback. That would come in 2003, on the first of season of Cold Case, in which he played a drug addict nicknamed "The Runner" circa 1973 - the year in which he would regrettably murder his friend, a cop, who had discovered he was abusing a young girl.
Friday Night Lights (Ray “Voodoo” Tatum)
Of course, Cold Case was not even the most notable time Aldis Hodge played a man with flashy nickname on a TV shows. That would come from his six-episode stint on the first season of Friday Night Lights as "Voodoo" - a Louisiana-born, 18-year-old quarterback who transfers to Texas to play football for the Dillon Panthers after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.
For an actor who came from humble beginnings, I would say that Aldis Hodge was given a treasure trove of opportunities to build his acting craft from the start with such an impressive variety of roles that range from quick and fun to super heavy. It is clearly visible that it has all paid off if his casting as a founding member of the Justice Society of America is any proof. For even further proof of Hodge's acting ability, or the chance to to keep up with his work, you are guaranteed to find that and more here on CinemaBlend.