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AskAMogulAnything:Hi,I'mAtoEssandoh.I'matelevisionandfilmactorbestknownformyrolesinDjangoUnchained,BloodDiamondandJasonBourne.Askmeanythingyou'dlike!

Ato Essandoh
Ato Essandoh Actor
3y New York, NY Conversation

**Ato Essandoh will answer questions posted in the Comments section of this post on Wednesday, September 28th at 12:00 pm ET. Anyone can (and should) ask a question! If you don't already have a Mogul account, just sign up here  http://www.onmogul.com/sign_up -then ask away!**

Hi - I'm Ato Essandoh. I'm a film and television actor perhaps best known for my roles in the movies Django Unchained, Blood Diamond and Jason Bourne. I also had a role in Garden State.

My television credits include Blue Bloods and Girls. I am also in Chicago Med and in the upcoming Netflix series, Altered Carbon.

Some fun facts about me: My favorite food is Jollof rice. It's a Ghanian dish. Other West African countries claim their own jolly but Ghana's is the best! My guilty pleasure is true crime TV. And I make my bed *every* day no matter what and no matter where I am.

Now's your chance to ask me anything! Please write your questions in the comments section below and I'll answer the questions live on Wednesday, September 28th, at 12:00 pm ET.

It's part of Mogul's new interactive Q &A sessions, Ask A Mogul Anything. 

Come on and ask me *anything* ... about my career in acting... how I made the leap from pursuing a degree in chemical engineering to the stage ... anything at all!

32 replies

As a guest user, you can still reply to conversations. Just press the "Reply" button below, which will prompt you to sign in or sign up on Mogul before your Reply posts.

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  • tishita
    3y ago

    If you could go back and play a role in a movie, which movie and what role?

    If you could go back and play a role in a movie, which movie and what role?

  • Ato Essandoh
    Ato Essandoh Actor
    3y ago New York, NY

    Well I have to say that this has been a great pleasure and honor. This is a pretty fantastic service that I know would have helped me on my journey. I'm glad you guys are taking advantage of it. It's awesome. Anyway, if you want to continue the conversation I'm all ears on twitter @atoessandoh and Facebook @atoessandohofficial and watch me play an Orthodox Jewish surgeon on Chicago Med Thursdays on NBC! (That's the other thing to remember if you're and up and coming actor... Be bold and proud of what you do. It helps through the lean times.) I'm out!

    Well I have to say that this has been a great pleasure and honor. This is a pretty fantastic service that I know would have helped me on my journey. I'm glad you guys are taking advantage of it. It's awesome. Anyway, if you want to continue the conversation I'm all ears on twitter @atoessandoh and Facebook @atoessandohofficial and watch me play an Orthodox Jewish surgeon on Chicago Med Thursdays on NBC! (That's the other thing to remember if you're and up and coming actor... Be bold and proud of what you do. It helps through the lean times.) I'm out!

  • girl
    girl not yet a woman
    3y ago

    Hey Ato! How did the rumour that you were killed by dogs on the Django Unchained set start? Was it funny to read that online?

    Hey Ato! How did the rumour that you were killed by dogs on the Django Unchained set start? Was it funny to read that online?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      It was hysterical. I had fun replying to all the people tweeting me to ask if I was dead. Can you imagine? Yeah that was hysterical.

      It was hysterical. I had fun replying to all the people tweeting me to ask if I was dead. Can you imagine? Yeah that was hysterical.

      • girl
        girl not yet a woman
        3y ago

        Sounds wild!! Another question, how do you feel about the influx of movies portraying violence on black bodies? What are other ways audiences can learn to identify with black pain without whips and chains?

        Sounds wild!! Another question, how do you feel about the influx of movies portraying violence on black bodies? What are other ways audiences can learn to identify with black pain without whips and chains?

  • BecksMD
    3y ago

    Do you think "serious" acting requires totally immersing yourself into a role and the character's environment, even if it means going to extremes and suffering cold weather, hunger, pain and the like? What interesting things have you had to do to prepare for a role?

    Do you think "serious" acting requires totally immersing yourself into a role and the character's environment, even if it means going to extremes and suffering cold weather, hunger, pain and the like? What interesting things have you had to do to prepare for a role?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Becks!!! Yes and no. For example: Do I have to be drunk to play a scene in which the character is drunk. In my opinion the answer is no. The trick of acting is to be able to convince an audience that you are drunk when you are completely sober. Freezing when it's 80 degrees. Devastated when life is great. That said, research helps but that's research. I don't need to be actually punched in the face to be able to act like I got punched in the face. lol

      Becks!!! Yes and no. For example: Do I have to be drunk to play a scene in which the character is drunk. In my opinion the answer is no. The trick of acting is to be able to convince an audience that you are drunk when you are completely sober. Freezing when it's 80 degrees. Devastated when life is great. That said, research helps but that's research. I don't need to be actually punched in the face to be able to act like I got punched in the face. lol

  • Maddy Bernstein

    Where did you train?

    Where did you train?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      The Acting Studio in NYC under James Price. A fantastic school. Are you in New York?

      The Acting Studio in NYC under James Price. A fantastic school. Are you in New York?

      • Maddy Bernstein

        I am! Are there studios you like best over others?

        I am! Are there studios you like best over others?

  • Ato Essandoh
    Ato Essandoh Actor
    3y ago New York, NY

    Hey eveyone! I'm here! How are you! I'll start answering questions that have already come through. Feel free to pile on with more! It'll be fun. Thanks so much for having me. This is a real honor.

    Hey eveyone! I'm here! How are you! I'll start answering questions that have already come through. Feel free to pile on with more! It'll be fun. Thanks so much for having me. This is a real honor.

  • Tiffany Pham
    Tiffany Pham Founder & CEO, Mogul
    3y ago New York, NY, USA

    It is such an honor to have you here. Thank you for joining us. What is the toughest challenge you face now as a successful actor versus when you were first starting out?

    It is such an honor to have you here. Thank you for joining us. What is the toughest challenge you face now as a successful actor versus when you were first starting out?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Hi Tiffany! The honor is mine! hm. That's a great question. It's hard to say. Having some success make everything easier. Especially when the success comes after years and years of pounding the pavement and rejection. The challenge now, which may sound trite, is staying hungry. Yeah staying hungry when your belly is full...

      Hi Tiffany! The honor is mine! hm. That's a great question. It's hard to say. Having some success make everything easier. Especially when the success comes after years and years of pounding the pavement and rejection. The challenge now, which may sound trite, is staying hungry. Yeah staying hungry when your belly is full...

  • Maddy Bernstein

    What was it like to work with Matt Damon? What's your advice to people who want to be actors? Do you recommend training?

    What was it like to work with Matt Damon? What's your advice to people who want to be actors? Do you recommend training?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Damon is a pro. Great guy too. And REALLY famous. He practically can't go anywhere... and yes!!! Training! Training is key. Take an intro class or a scene study class. I highly recommend training.

      Damon is a pro. Great guy too. And REALLY famous. He practically can't go anywhere... and yes!!! Training! Training is key. Take an intro class or a scene study class. I highly recommend training.

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    Hi Ato! What's been your favorite project to work on so far? Are you planning to do plays anytime soon? You are awesome!

    Hi Ato! What's been your favorite project to work on so far? Are you planning to do plays anytime soon? You are awesome!

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Hi Bethany!!! So far it's been Vinyl on HBO. That was awesome. Copper on BBC America was fantastic as well. I got to play a Civil War doctor! How cool is that? Oh I miss doing theater. My theater company Colt Coeur did a fantastic play called Empathitrax. It was phenomenal. It made me miss theater even more.... I don't know when I'll have an opportunity to do more plays. : (

      Hi Bethany!!! So far it's been Vinyl on HBO. That was awesome. Copper on BBC America was fantastic as well. I got to play a Civil War doctor! How cool is that? Oh I miss doing theater. My theater company Colt Coeur did a fantastic play called Empathitrax. It was phenomenal. It made me miss theater even more.... I don't know when I'll have an opportunity to do more plays. : (

  • miranda444
    3y ago

    Hi Ato - Wondering what you like to do with any down time you have on set? What do you like to do to pass the time?

    Hi Ato - Wondering what you like to do with any down time you have on set? What do you like to do to pass the time?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      I almost always have a guitar on set. That's my favorite thing to do.

      I almost always have a guitar on set. That's my favorite thing to do.

  • glasshalffull100

    Hi Ato - Ever wonder what your life would have been like if you had stuck with chemical engineering and hadn't done that first college play?

    Hi Ato - Ever wonder what your life would have been like if you had stuck with chemical engineering and hadn't done that first college play?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Often. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy science and Chemical Engineering is a fascinating discipline but yes one I discovered theater, I knew where I belonged. Here's the thing... My girlfriend in college was the one who dared me to do a play at Cornell. Maybe she saw something in me, maybe not but I tried it. The great thing about college, in my opinion, is that this is the only place and perhaps the only time in your life that you'll have the autonomy to try whatever you want. You can really focus on finding yourself... Anyway I hope that answers your question. I could say waaaaay more...

      Often. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy science and Chemical Engineering is a fascinating discipline but yes one I discovered theater, I knew where I belonged. Here's the thing... My girlfriend in college was the one who dared me to do a play at Cornell. Maybe she saw something in me, maybe not but I tried it. The great thing about college, in my opinion, is that this is the only place and perhaps the only time in your life that you'll have the autonomy to try whatever you want. You can really focus on finding yourself... Anyway I hope that answers your question. I could say waaaaay more...

  • Sally22
    3y ago

    Hi Ato - Great to have you here - Any advice for young actors looking to break into the business? Anything you think they definitely should or shouldn't do?

    Hi Ato - Great to have you here - Any advice for young actors looking to break into the business? Anything you think they definitely should or shouldn't do?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      If you haven't already, make sure to take classes. Learn your craft. Hone it. I can't emphasize that enough. The other thing is to create your own work. Write a play if you can. Shoot a short on your iPhone. Doing things like this not only helps you become a better actor but it also helps you develop a community of like minded people which in turn expands your network. This is key. You need skills and a network. And time. These things take time. So what shouldn't you do? Quit after like a year or two. I've been doing this for 20 years. It takes time. Be patient.

      If you haven't already, make sure to take classes. Learn your craft. Hone it. I can't emphasize that enough. The other thing is to create your own work. Write a play if you can. Shoot a short on your iPhone. Doing things like this not only helps you become a better actor but it also helps you develop a community of like minded people which in turn expands your network. This is key. You need skills and a network. And time. These things take time. So what shouldn't you do? Quit after like a year or two. I've been doing this for 20 years. It takes time. Be patient.

  • MaryPflumPeterson

    What's been your favorite role to play and why? Any actors or directors you're dying to work with in the future?

    What's been your favorite role to play and why? Any actors or directors you're dying to work with in the future?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      I'd say "Lester Grimes" in HBO's Vinyl. I've been playing guitar as a hobby for the last ten or so years and I've listened to the Blues and classic rock since I was a child. I couldn't believe it when I got the role. Getting to play guitar for Martin Scorsese on a show co-produced by Mick Jagger was definitely one of the high lights of my life! In the future I'd love to work for Steve McQueen as a director. Actors? Meryl and Denzel... And Idris...

      I'd say "Lester Grimes" in HBO's Vinyl. I've been playing guitar as a hobby for the last ten or so years and I've listened to the Blues and classic rock since I was a child. I couldn't believe it when I got the role. Getting to play guitar for Martin Scorsese on a show co-produced by Mick Jagger was definitely one of the high lights of my life! In the future I'd love to work for Steve McQueen as a director. Actors? Meryl and Denzel... And Idris...

  • ssawle
    3y ago

    You get the call for a role in Hamilton. Who are you hoping you will play: Hamilton, Lafayette, or Burr?

    You get the call for a role in Hamilton. Who are you hoping you will play: Hamilton, Lafayette, or Burr?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Ooooh that's a good question. I still haven't seen Hamilton (I KNOW)... I bought the soundtrack and still haven't listened to it because I want to see it first. That said, I think Burr... I love playing 'bad guys'

      Ooooh that's a good question. I still haven't seen Hamilton (I KNOW)... I bought the soundtrack and still haven't listened to it because I want to see it first. That said, I think Burr... I love playing 'bad guys'

  • BecksMD
    3y ago

    Any comment on those rumors that you are being considered to be the next James Bond?

    Any comment on those rumors that you are being considered to be the next James Bond?

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Hahaha! I wish. I'd have to work on my English accent which as I write this sounds a bit like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins...

      Hahaha! I wish. I'd have to work on my English accent which as I write this sounds a bit like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins...

  • echeag
    3y ago

    What was planned for Lester in season 2 of Vinyl? -eche

    What was planned for Lester in season 2 of Vinyl? -eche

    • Ato Essandoh
      Ato Essandoh Actor
      3y ago New York, NY

      Ah! Man I loved doing that show. One of the ideas was that Kip and the Nasty Bits become famous because of the song I wrote for them but fail to give me credit for it. That would have been really cool... Thanks Eche! ; )

      Ah! Man I loved doing that show. One of the ideas was that Kip and the Nasty Bits become famous because of the song I wrote for them but fail to give me credit for it. That would have been really cool... Thanks Eche! ; )


Ato Essandoh
Actor

Born on a Saturday in late July in Schenectady New York, the first child of Ebow and Monica Essandoh did not have an official name. Ghanaian custom dictated that the new parents wait a week before divining a name during a traditional ceremony. Seven days hence, "Baby Boy Essandoh" became Ato [...]

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