Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in a scene from "The Thing," in theaters Oct. 14

*No matter the variety of roles taken on by Nigerian-British actor and former model Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, fans of HBO’s “Oz” will forever see him as Simon Adebisi – the inmate with the gravity-defying knit hat that sat on the side of his bald head.

Agbaje as Adebisi from HBO's "Oz"

Agbaje’s fan base may have expanded with such intense roles as Mr. Eko on ABC’s “Lost” and Nykwana Wombosi in “The Bourne Identity,” but the characters all remained in the vein of Adebisi – menacing and intimidating. The 44-year-old, however, switches things up a bit in his latest project, “The Thing.”

Billed as a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 remake, the film, opening Friday (Oct. 14), begins three days before the events of Carpenter’s take. A Norwegian scientific team stumbles across a crashed spaceship buried beneath the ice of Antarctica. They discover the frozen corpse of a creature that seems to have died in the crash. [Scroll down for the trailer.]

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and co-pilot Joel Edgerton in "The Thing"

Agbaje adopts an American accent and goes against type as the mild-mannered, affable Derek Jameson, part of a three-man helicopter crew running supplies to the scientists. The three, also close friends, are left in the dark as to why they are there and the mysterious thing the scientists have found.

“I just thought this was a departure from what I’m known to play, which is the heaviest kind of bad guys,” he told EURweb’s Lee Bailey exclusively about his decision to take the role. “Derek Jameson was really an all-around nice guy. He’s an American, too, so that was also a nice challenge.”

In the bonus audio below, the London native continues on about how much he craved a role that would allow him to use the softer, gentler side of his acting muscles. [Scroll down to see the trailer.]

Adewale Akinniuoye-Agbaje on playing against type in The Thing by CherieNic