Although Colman DomingoHe has spent three decades in the entertainment industry, with leading roles in theater, he says he has been marginalized in film and television. He played a trombonist on Chadwick Boseman final movie, Ma Rainey’s black butt; counselor of the problematic Rue de Zendaya in Euphoria; a violent and passionate pimp in zolaand father of a Harlem artist (Stephen James) wrongly accused in If Beale Street could talk.
Craft and songwriting come first, he says, and by working on the sidelines of high-profile shows and award-winning theater productions, he has developed the skills needed to perform at the center of the storm. Deep down, she knew that the right role would come along eventually.
In Netflix‘s Rustindirected by George C. Wolfe, the acting veterinarian and playwright found that role. Sunday portrays Bayard Rustin, the unapologetic queer activist and main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, whose fight for civil liberties has been criminally ignored. Here, civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. takes a backseat as Rustin tirelessly strategizes and plans the historic march, while fending off resistance from law enforcement and homophobic critics.
“I’ve been working for this my entire career, especially someone like this who I deeply admire,” Domingo says. Rolling Stone. “I really care about its impact and meaning in our world, so I was ready for it.”
Domingo calls Rustin his North Star. He first discovered the activist leader at age 19 while attending a Black Student Union meeting at Temple University. He was drawn to Rustin’s Quaker upbringing and his identity as a gay black man and the primary architect behind the March on Washington.
“I don’t think there was anyone more American than Bayard Rustin,” Domingo says. “He gave his life and his service to this country and tried to make it a better place.”
He The candy man The star reconnected with the unsung hero, as Domingo calls him, for the filming of the Netflix biopic in 2021, and spent five months, with 40-hour weeks, researching his written work, his speeches and his gestures. She also spoke to Rustin’s loved ones, such as Rustin’s partner Walter Naegle (whom Rustin met in 1977) and organizer Rachelle Horowitz, to capture the spirit of the strong-willed, nonviolent protester.
“I had to have a sense of openness and vulnerability to play someone who has lived on the margins of society but had such a full experience and who he was,” Domingo says.
The film explores Rustin’s personal life through intimate moments with her boyfriend Tom, played by Gus Halper, and an affair with a married Baptist preacher named Elias (Johnny Ramey). The romance between Rustin and the preacher exists in the shadows: under the dim lights of a nearby bar or behind the blinds of Rustin’s house. Julian Breece (when they see us), who co-wrote the script with Dustin Lance Black (Milk), says the preacher is based on two different people from Rustin’s life.
“Bayard’s relationships with white men have been very well recorded, but his romantic relationships and intimate friendships with black men in the movement are not recorded,” Breece explains.
Domingo reveals that he wouldn’t have been ready to play the role of grassroots organizer 10 or 15 years ago and neither would Hollywood, which lacked the producers who would greenlight such a project. (Rustin was produced by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama‘s Higher Ground.) Casting a black gay actor as Domingo helped make the film seem possible, Breece says, as Domingo’s boundless charisma made him a shoo-in for the role.
“He was able to take this complicated character and really embody it completely,” Breece offers. “People who knew Bayard see Bayard in him. He was born to play this role.”
Other cast members include Glynn Turman as A. Philip Randolph, Jeffrey Wright as Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Chris Rock as Roy Wilkins, CCH Pounder as Dr. Anna Hedgeman, Alicia McDonald as Ella Baker and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mahalia Jackson.
Aml Ameen, who plays Dr. King, Rustin’s apprentice, met Domingo on the set of The Butler and remembers playing pranks and dancing with him in the streets of New Orleans. Ameen says she admires Domingo’s selflessness and his ability to lead from within rather than from a hierarchical standpoint, a character trait she recycled for Rustin.
“His energy, his zest for life, his warmth and his artistry are extremely authentic to him,” says Ameen. Rolling Stone.
AND Rustin is the first of many intriguing projects for Domingo over the next year. After the eighth and final season of Fear the living dead concludes on November 19, next time he will star in the musical adaptation of The color Purple, which hits theaters on December 25; as Boss in the Ethan Coen comedy Dolls to wear, available February 23; will take the lead once again in the independent drama Sing Sing, recently acquired by A24; and will return to the Euphoria cast for the show’s third season, which is expected to launch sometime in 2025 on HBO.
Domingo, who received an Emmy as Ali, Rue’s patient sponsor in EuphoriaHe says he cares deeply about Zendaya, whom he affectionately calls “Z,” and fondly remembers the special episode they shared. “Problems don’t last forever.” Although the show hasn’t started filming the third season, he says creator Sam Levinson can be expected to make some big changes.
“He’s going to have a plan for us that will make you rethink.” Euphoria again,” says Domingo. “On the first day of our table read for season two, the first thing he said was, ‘Let’s forget about the success we had in season one.’ “That’s the only way to be honest.”
As someone who has long been a supporting actor in film and television productions, Domingo carries Rustin’s spirit within him. Meanwhile, he accepts the flowers from him for this leading role.
“You don’t need to know who’s in my room,” Domingo says. “What you need to know is what I think, how I believe and how I make people feel. That is the most important”.
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