Hollywood newcomer Dayo Okeniyi has been thrust into the spotlight as Thresh, one of the Tributes in "The Hunger Games" who is, as he puts it in his Twitter bio, "the reason Katniss makes it to Catching Fire No biggie." Uh, yeah, it's a biggie! And so is Dayo, who moved to Los Angeles just a few years ago to become an actor. Hey, he's always got a bachelor's degree in Visual Communications Design if this whole "being awesome" thing doesn't work out. We suspect it will, though.
Hometown: Dayo grew up in Lagos, Nigeria.
What He's Done: This is his first feature-length film!
What He's Doing Now: He plays Thresh, the other Tribute from District 11 along with Rue (Amandla Stenberg). We can't give much away about his character, but suffice it to say he's pretty darn tough, and Katniss thinks highly of him.
Reminds Us of: A younger Blair Underwood, Tyson Beckford (if only for that smoldering Blue Steel lookDayo gives on occasion) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, post-Theo and pre-goatee.
Fun Facts: The young actor had to put on a chunk of muscle for the role of tough Thresh. He revealed,"I was eating chicken breasts like crazy and I was working out three hours a day and doing strength training for an hour and a half and combat training for an hour and a half. It was anything from hand-to-hand combat to blades, long blade, short blade, fighting staffs." Oof!
Quotable: Okeniyi told E! that Jennifer Lawrence is "50 percent goofball, 50 percent Academy Award nominee." As for those comparisons to other teen franchises, "It's not 'Twilight' where they have vampires and werewolves. Or 'Harry Potter' where you have magic. These are real human beings put in real dire situations that aren't so far fetched from reality." Hm, what say you, Twi-hards?
Twitter Handle: @dayookeniyi
What's Next: Dayo is giving the small screen a whirl, with a part in the upcoming ABC comedy pilot "Prairie Dogs" with Kal Penn and Nick Zano. He's also in the low-budget horror flick "Slew Hampshire," which is currently looking for a distributor.