New Jersey native Derek Luke certainly took us by surprise when he made his big screen debut in 2002's “Antwone Fisher”, starring opposite the film's director and producer Denzel Washington. Luke’s performance impressed movie critics and was considered Oscar worthy. Not bad for a former dreamer who worked several day jobs before achieving this unforgettable breakthrough.
Derek displayed a keen interest in film since the age of four. In 1995 he moved to California in hopes of making his dream come true, working as an usher for television tapings at Universal Pictures and later as a sales clerk at a gift store on Sony Pictures Studios lot.
While working Derek learned about screen writer Antwone Fisher’s memoir about his turbulent life would be made into a film, and that it was legendary actor Denzel Washington who would be directing and producing the movie. Luke landed an audition for the lead role but the film was placed on hold before casting could be completed. He continued to work while waiting patiently, landing small appearances on television including “The King of Queens” and “Moesha”. In 2001, Derek auditioned again for “Antwone Fisher” and Denzel was convinced he was perfect for the lead role. His performance depicted in the film was described as raw, emotional and authentic. He received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor in 2003 for his breathtaking performance in the film, an award he presented to his wife for all the love and support she gave while he was trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood.
After stunning audiences with his performance in “Antwone Fisher”, Duke received leading roles in 2003’s “Pieces of April” and “Biker Boyz”. He was also apart of an ensemble cast for the movies “Friday Night Lights” and “Glory Road”. His dramatic and powerful acting abilities were put on display again in the 2006 Phillip Noyce’s biopic “Catch a Fire”. In the film, Derek starred as a wronged family man who becomes a freedom fighter in South Africa. The movie proved that Luke was more than a one hit wonder when it comes to captivating audiences with an emotion filled character, and he pulled off the role effortlessly.
Aside from starring in television and film, Derek has also appeared in music videos: Alicia Keys’ “Teenage Love Affairs”, and Monica’s “So Gone”. In 2009, he took on the role of Sean “Diddy” Combs in the movie “Notorious”, a biopic based on the life of slain hip hop/rap artist Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Smalls. In summer 2011, fans can look forward to seeing Derek as a Howling Commando in “Captain America: The First Avenger”, starring alongside Chris Evans. He will also be reprising the role in “The Avengers”, set for a 2012 release.
Derek luke is an exceptional actor. His talent is beyond incredible; He embodies something that pulls you in and takes you on a ride you’ll never forget. I’m always interested in what he’s doing next and I hope to see him back on the screen giving us the raw emotion he depicted in “Antwone Fisher”.
Credit: Derek Luke Biography