In the new movie “Uncorked,” streaming Friday on Netflix, Athie plays Elijah, a young man with dreams of becoming a master sommelier. Unfortunately, that ambition is at odds with the plan of his father (played by Emmy-winner Courtney B. Vance) for Elijah to take over the family’s Memphis barbecue joint.
Athie, 31, was born in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, where his diplomat father worked in the country’s state department. Before Athie’s first birthday, his father was forced to seek political asylum and was able to bring the family to the United States.
“There was a lot of human trafficking going on, and he was speaking out against that,” says Athie. “And Mauritania — the government there — didn’t like that so much.”