In what is possibly the most inspirational rags to riches story you'll read this week, Abraham Attah, a 14-year-old native of Accra, Ghana, won Marcello Mastroianni's Best Young Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival, and, get this: it's his first acting role, ever!
According to People, it all started when Attah was playing hooky from school and was approached by a member of the production staff of the Netflix film Beasts of No Nation. He was then taken in for an audition and ended up winning the lead role of Agu, an African boy forced into a team of mercenary fighters.
The production staff of the film spoke highly of the teenager, saying that his growth throughout making the film was incredible. "[He] was essentially a street vendor before we shot the film," Cary Fukunaga, the film's director, told Business Insider. "[He had] zero film experience, little education... but he became a somewhat professional actor, which was astounding to watch."
Attah detailed his unique rise to stardom and being intimidated by his A-list co-star Idris Elba during a press conference at the festival. "We were playing football on our school field when a white man came and said, 'We need some boys for a movie'," he said. "We went to a TV station in Ghana for an audition, and I was cast... I was scared because it was my first time shooting a movie. I was afraid of [Elba] at first because I see him to be someone big, and I'm like an ant in front of him."
Beasts of No Nation hits theaters on October 16 and begins streaming on Netflix the same day.
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