Paapa Essiedu

Last updated on the 19 April 2024 by Maeve

Paapa Essiedu headshot

Mini Biography

Born: June 11, 1990, Southwark, London, England. 

Paapa Essiedun grew up in East London under the guidance of his mother, a fashion and design teacher. His Ghanaian heritage connects him to a half-brother and sister in Ghana, while his father passed away when Paapa was 14.

Paapa Essiedu attended Forest School on a scholarship, participating in sports teams and theatrical productions. His childhood dream was not to tread the boards but to become a doctor. However, fate had other plans. His interest in Shakespeare blossomed, leading him to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. There, he crossed paths with the talented Michaela Coel and their collaboration would leave a mark on both their careers. Tragically, Paapa lost his mother to breast cancer during his time at drama school.

In 2012, Paapa Essiedu joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), igniting his journey. He appeared in productions such as “The Merry Wives of Windsor” , “King Lear” , “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet”. Notably, when Sam Troughton lost his voice during a performance, Essiedu stepped in as Edmund in King Lear, earning critical acclaim. His Hamlet was described as a performance that held audiences “completely still, oscillating between sweetness and fierce intelligence”.

Paapa Essiedu’s television breakthrough came with the HBO miniseries “I May Destroy You” (2020), where he portrayed Kwame. His performance earned nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award and the British Academy Television Award. In the Channel 5 miniseries “Anne Boleyn” (2021), he portrayed George Boleyn, adding historical drama to his repertoire. He has also had starring roles in AMC+’s “Gangs of London” (2020), the science fiction series “The Lazarus Project” (2022) and Black Mirror: Demon 79 (2023).

Paapa Essiedu made his feature film debut as a policeman in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express (2017). His recent film credits include Men (2022), Genie (2023) and The Outrun (2024).


Suggested viewing


I May Destroy You (2020)

I May Destroy You poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.1

“I May Destroy You” is a gripping dark comedy-drama limited series. Arabella, a celebrated writer, grapples with the aftermath of a traumatic event. As she pieces together the blurred memories of a fateful night, she confronts her past, friendships and the complexities of consent in contemporary life.

Top cast: Michaela Coel, Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu, Stephen Wight, Marouane Zotti, Harriet Webb, Aml Ameen, Adam James, Natalie Walter.


The Lazarus Project (2022)

The Lazarus Project poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.3

George wakes up one morning to a startling revelation: he has been inexplicably transported several months into the past, just before he was recruited for the enigmatic Lazarus Project. This clandestine organisation is shrouded in mystery, known only to a select few and tasked with a critical mission, to reset time when the world teeters on the brink of annihilation. As George grapples with the surreal reality of his situation, he begins to uncover the intricate workings of the Lazarus Project and the pivotal role he is meant to play in safeguarding the future of humanity.

Top cast: Paapa Essiedu, Anjli Mohindra, Rudi Dharmalingam, Caroline Quentin, Tom Burke, Salóme Gunnarsdóttir, Charly Clive, Lukas Loughran, Elaine Tan, Brian Gleeson, Colin Salmon, Zoe Telford.


Demon 79 (2023)

Demon 79 poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.7

“Demon 79” is an episode from the television series “Black Mirror.” In 1979 Nida Huq works at the department store Possetts in the English town of Tipley. While selling shoes, she fantasises about hurting her xenophobic coworker, Vicky and an unsettling customer who killed his wife, Keith Holligan.

Top cast: Anjana Vasan, Paapa Essiedu, Katherine Rose Morley, David Shields, Nicholas Burns, Shaun Dooley, Emily Fairn, Nick Holder.

More Black Mirror

Black Mirror Hated in the Nation


The Capture (2019)

The Capture

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.9

In the intense second season of “The Capture”, DI Rachel Carey investigates a treacherous web of deception. Tasked with solving the murder of Chinese dissident Edison Yao, she uncovers a sinister plot involving deep-fake technology. As secrets unravel, alliances shift and the true puppeteers emerge, Carey races against time to expose the truth and protect her country from manipulation.

Top cast: Holliday Grainger, Ben Miles, Lia Williams, Cavan Clerkin, Ginny Holder, Paapa Essiedu (S2) , Ron Perlman, Nigel Lindsay, Laura Haddock, Indira Varma, Charlie Murphy.


Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


Paapa Essiedu Gallery


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