To this day, actor O-T Fagbenle is still best known for his role on The Handmaid’s Tale, where he plays Luke Bankole - the husband of June Osborne (Elizabeth Moss) and the father of her child, Hannah. Yet, some may recognize him from starring on HBO’s short-lived romantic dramedy, Looking, or voicing “Calico” Jack Rackham in the Assassin’s Creed video games, and audiences will surely remember him after he appears in Black Widow as a character some have theorized could be Taskmaster. By the end of this article, you will know O-T Fagbenle for much more than just who he portrays on screen.
The 40-year-old British-born actor has played characters of all kinds, which can be attributed to the versatile talents he has acquired over a long career. From studying the craft the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (or RADA for short) in London, to award-winning performances in theater like the lead in a stage production of Six Degrees of Separation, and roles on the big screen and the small screen, both in the United States and elsewhere. What many fans of his filmography may not realize is how many other hats he wears in show business, and beyond the world of entertainment. Today, we put the spotlight on the lesser-known, but fascinating, facts about O-T Fagbenle, starting with what the O-T actually stands for.
"O-T" Is Abbreviated From O-T Fagbenle’s First Two Legal Names
O-T Fagbenle (pronounced "fag-ben-lee," in case you were curious about that, too) works hard to hide his British accent when playing Luke Bankole on The Handmaid's Tale. He was born in London, England, on January 22, 1981, but his parents are from Nigeria. Fagbenle's Nigerian heritage would also inspire his full legal name, as he told reporter Jim Halterman in the following excerpt from an interview for NewNowNext.com in 2014:
My full name is Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun and so my first two names, Olatunde and Olateju, O-T became kind of an abbreviation of both names. A lot of people assume it was what I was called when I was a kid and a lot of people assume that it’s because people found it hard to say my name, but it’s a Nigerian name and they just abbreviate it with Ola or Tunde, but I was just given the moniker and nickname of O-T and it stuck.
The actor, who was promoting his role on Looking for HBO at the time, did not, however, specify the meaning behind the hyphen in his nickname. Nicknames, if you can believe it, actually run in O-T Fagbenle's family, some of whom you might even be familiar with as well.
O-T Fagbenle Has Many Siblings, Some Of Whom Are Also In Show Business
O-T Fagbenle comes from a pretty large family, which, I suppose, means that the chances of more than one of his brothers and sisters also leading careers in show business were never too slim. According to a profile on the actor by Bustle from October 2020, one brother is a music producer who goes by Rockwell, another is a musician who sings under the stage name Tito, and his other brother, Daps, has directed music videos for rap group Migos and hip-hop artist Future, to name a few. His sister, Temi, is a WNBA athlete who has also played basketball in the Olympics, and his young brother, Luti Fagbenle, works behind and in front of the camera, and has collaborated with O-T on one of his most acclaimed projects.
O-T Fagbenle Is Also A Writer And Director
As I mentioned earlier, O-T Fagbenle is an artist of many talents and likes to wear a lot of hats, having also dabbled in writing, directing, and producing many projects on the side since he made his directorial debut on the short film Kandi and the Jinn in 2012. A short film he made in 2017 called Maxxx would later inspire a sitcom of the same name which he also wrote, directed, produced, and starred in as a self-centered former boyband member desperate for a comeback. Fagbenle's brother, Luti, also appears on the U.K. comedy TV show, which is considered by its American fans to be one of the funniest shows on Hulu right now.
O-T Fagbenle Wrote A Song Performed By Rapper Tyga
In a March 2020 profile on the actor by The Guardian, O-T Fagbenle claims to be nothing like the "narcissistic, egomaniacal and unnecessarily long-winded fool" he portrays as the title character of Maxxx. However, he is also a musically talented person, from playing the alto sax as a teen to writing music for his own TV shows (including Maxxx). In the following quote from a 2017 interview with Elle UK, Fagbenle reveals that he collaborated on a hit single with rap artist Tyga:
Yeah I wrote an album which we never released with my best friend Stephano Moses, and we used a lot of those songs on this TV show I did in America called [Quarterlife]. But anyway Stephano was working with Tyga, and he wanted to work on this song, so he came to me, we worked on it together and Tyga released it. It was a really fun experience.
O-T Fagbenle Will Play Barack Obama In An Upcoming Miniseries
O-T Fagbenle probably did not realize that the opportunity to play so many different sorts of characters has been leading him to what will likely become one of the most important roles of his career. According to Deadline, Fagbenle will play former United States president Barack Obama, alongside The Suicide Squad cast's Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, in The First Lady. The historical miniseries, which will the put the spouses of many notable U.S. presidents in the spotlight, will be directed and executive produced by Bird Box director Susanne Bier for Showtime.
O-T Fagbenle Co-Founded A Charity To Help Educate African Children
Of course, outside of acting, being the co-founder of the ABC Foundation is truly O-T Fagbenle's most important role. The charity organization aims to provide educational opportunities, specifically for those interested in careers in technology, to children in African nations like Zimbabwe. In 2020, the ABC Foundation worked to help strengthen emergency responses in the wake of Covid-19 in rural Tanzania.
O-T Fagbenle recently took to Twitter to claim that The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 is going to be the best season of the Emmy-winning dystopian social commentary yet. We shall see if Season 4 lives up to the actor's praise when it returns to Hulu on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. In the meantime, I will be pondering any fan theories suggesting that he is Taskmaster in Black Widow.