Despite being twice nominated for an Academy Award, the star admits he still struggles to find good roles.

The 52-year-old actor recently played fearless leader Chief Mbonga in The Legend of Tarzan, a Hollywood blockbuster which is set and filmed almost exclusively in Africa, and it was a rare treat for the American actor who was born in Benin, West Africa.

"That's always been the narrative of Africa, because Africans haven't been able to use this universal instrument to tell stories like the west do. So, it's always a struggle to find dignifying characters," he admitted in an interview with The Guardian.

Following the Oscars so white controversy after the 2016 nominations, Hollywood has been motivated to make a bigger effort to address the scarcity of nominations for actors of colour who are often over-represented in categories which feature slave and maid roles.

Djimon also attributes the dearth of nominations to the lack of diverse stories available for black actors.

"I haven't come across many leads in potential blockbusters... but the reality is also: how many other films are out there about black folks? How many elevating stories about black folks are out there? You have a slave movie, you have a comedy and that's that. There's nothing else to nominate," he explained.

One role the actor may have thought he was a shoo-in for is the lead in Black Panther, which he voiced for the TV cartoon. But in the upcoming film, the comicbook superhero will be played by Chadwick Boseman.

"It was not something that was mine that I'm losing. Fair enough that he got the role and I hope he does a great job with it," he conceded, hiding any disappointment. But he is pleased the film is being made, for his son Kenzo's sake.

"It's about time! Could you imagine my misfortune when my son told me: 'I want to be light-skinned so I can climb the walls like Spider-Man' - just because he has seen Spider-Man and Batman and all these superheroes who were all white," he shared. "It's absolutely important... There's a reason why we create fantasy stories, so we can surpass this life condition."