It’s not like I packed my bags and said, “I’m moving to Hollywood”. 'But since then I’ve worked with Jude Law, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland. It’s acting, not rocket science.’Gugu, whose name means ‘pride’ in Zulu, was a born performer – even though there is no history of showbusiness in her blood; her English mother Anne was a nurse while her South African father Patrick was a doctor.
Although she was one of the few mixed-race children at the Henry Box School in Witney, and her parents split up when she was one, she was a happy, extroverted child. I was in the school band, the choir and all my school plays.’ From there she moved on to the Oxford Youth Music Theatre and then, at 17, breezed into RADA.
It centres on an autistic, mute boy, Jake Bohm, who communicates only with numbers.
His father Martin, played by Kiefer, struggles to control him, and Gugu’s character, social worker Clea Hopkins, tries to help.
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It helps that she does a very good American accent, so good she even pretended to be an American when she met Tom Hanks to pitch for her role in Larry Crowne.
‘I auditioned with an American accent on Friday morning, then I was told I had to meet Tom Hanks on the Monday.
Next, Tom Hanks cast her in his film Larry Crowne with Julia Roberts.
And now she’s starring opposite Kiefer Sutherland in his first television role since 24.
” He looked at me and it was nerve-racking for a moment.
But then he laughed and I got the job.’But it’s Touch that could make her a star.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw would really, really like to come home.