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These are Thandiwe Newton’s Best Performances, Ranked

Thandiwe Newton OBE, previously credited as Thandie Newton, is a Zimbabwean-British actress. She made her debut in Flirting at the age of 19 which kick-started her Hollywood career, soon gaining a supporting role in Interview with a Vampire. Newton has since generated a long filmography with a wide variety of roles, ranging from major antagonists to small but crucial roles. As an award-winning actress, she leaves no stone unturned as she takes on role after role, up for any challenge.

While originally credited in her work as Thandie Newton, she made the conscious decision to go by the original spelling of her name in 2021, Thandiwe Newton. Returning to her roots, she reclaims her agency by eliminating her stage name and refusing to conform to colonial standards of having an English-sounding name. Her first credit as Thandiwe would go to HBO Max’s movie Reminiscenceand the upcoming film God’s Country. That said, Newton has no shortage of work and these are Thandiwe Newton’s best performances.

Related: Thandiwe Newton Might Star in Magic Mike Sequel with Channing Tatum

8 Interview With a Vampire

Interview with a Vampire is a classic vampire story based on the novel of the same name by the late Anne Rice. It follows Louis’ story of how he came to be a vampire, following the death of his human family and the family he builds as a vampire. Louis dictates his life to an eager biographer and the majority of the film is in flashbacks. The film stars Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, a young Kirsten Dunst, and a special appearance by Antonio Banderas. Though she only has a small role, Newton’s role is crucial to Louis’ story as she was his first human victim after he was changed.

7 Chronicles of Riddick

Universal Pictures

The sequel to Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick follows Riddick’s journey as he searches for Jack, managing to evade not only the mercenaries chasing his bounty but the eerie cult of Necromongers who seek to annihilate all life in the universe. A member of this cult and the wife of Lord Vaako, is Dame Vaako, played by Thandiwe Newton. Reminiscent of Lady Macbeth, Newton brings out the seductive temptress in us all as she manipulates her husband, convincing him that he belongs on the throne instead of the Lord Marshal. She plants the seed in his head to kill not only Riddick, but to eventually murder the Lord Marshal and take his throne.

6 Westworld

Westworld is a dystopian science fiction TV series that follows the stories of the attendants of Westworld, an amusement park run by robots, and allows its visitors to live out their every fantasy without any consequences. Newton plays the role of Maeve, host, and Madam of Sweetwater, the largest town in Westworld. Eventually, Maeve’s memories begin to resurface, leading to her becoming self-aware that her life is a lie. Her performance earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globe Awards and eventually won her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2018.

5 The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness follows the life of Chris Gardner and his son as they become homeless and Chris struggles to find financial stability. Based on a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness stars Will Smith, real-life son of Jaden Smith and Thandiwe Newton as Chris’ wife Lind. Linda is unhappy with the route Chris is taking with his career, especially his unpaid internship. This eventually leads to Linda leaving for New York in the hopes of getting a job at a friend’s restaurant. The couple made the decision for Chris to take care of their son while she is away. Newton received a nomination at the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

4 W.


W. is the American biographical film about the life of former President of the United States, George W. Bush. Following his journey to gain his father’s approval, sibling rivalry, and his journey into politics. Playing the role of US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is Thandiwe Newton in this Oliver Stone motion picture. While the Bush administration never commented on the film and Jeb Bush, portrayed in the film, stated that Stone’s film would have benefited from real conversations with the Bush family.W. was praised by some critics and placed on their top ten list of best films of 2008.

3 Mission: Impossible 2

In the first sequel to the original Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible 2, Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt as he leads an IMF mission to capture German virus “Chimera” before it’s released by terrorists. This mission is put at risk when Hunt discovers that his team is not the only team searching for the virus and must contend with the gang, led by former IMF member Sean Ambrose who managed to snag the virus before he did. Newton plays the role of Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a professional thief, former girlfriend of Ambrose, and a love interest to Hunt is brought onto his team to aid the efforts to steal the virus. Mission: Impossible 2 was the highest-grossing film of 2000 and yet another John Woo action film to admire.

Related: Thandiwe Newton Explains Why Tom Cruise Scared Her on Mission Impossible 2 Shoot

2 Beloved

A family is divided by the poltergeist brought on by the family matriarch Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) struggling with her tragic demons of slavery and what she did to gain her freedom. Sethe and her daughter live with the poltergeist for ten years until Sethe’s old friend Paul Garner arrives to run it out. After his arrival, a woman named Beloved enters their lives and brings chaos with her. Beloved was Thandiwe Newton’s film debut as she plays the title character. Beloved was nominated for Best Costume Design at the Academy Awards and Winfrey received a great deal of praise for her performance.

1 Crash

Crash follows four different storylines after the occurrence of 9/11. The life of a lawyer and his wife, police detectives who become romantically involved, a Middle-Eastern store owner and an African-American couple being harassed by a racist cop. Director Paul Haggis managed to weave the stories within one another while maintaining film structure. Thandiwe Newton plays the role of Christine Thayer, wife of Cameron Thayer, who is subject to sexual abuse at the hands of police officer Ryan who later saves her from an explosion as a result of a severe car crash. Crash won Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, and won Newton three awards for her outstanding performance including a British Academy Film Award in this racially charged film.

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