Colman Domingo [Interview]

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So I have been watching more than your average amount of brand new movies recently due to a recent absence from the real world these days.  And I couldn’t help but notice a whole new fresh breed of talent is out there, working their asses off to master their craft.  And with this, I began to see that, though their name seems to be dropping faster than the Kennedy’s these days.  Whether it is on screen, television, or on the stage, there is a whole new breed of great talent out there.  Well, “new” might be a harsh term, when you consider the amount of work most of these fine actors have already put in to making their careers work.
One of those names that kept dropping around me was Colman Domingo.  Most recently I recognized him in the excellent new indie dramedy featuring Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti, All Is Bright.  Colman’s appearance is brief but memorable.  And then of course there were his roles in other great films like Lincoln, True Crime, and the recent smash hit, Lee Daniel’s The Butler.  And as per usual, further investigation proved that there is so much more to learn about Mr. Domingo and the beautiful career he has recently carved out for himself.  So naturally I had some questions, and we were very fortunate enough to be able to steal a few words from Colman.  So, enjoy!
What was it about All Is Bright that intrigued you to be a part of the film?  Please explain. 
I became familiar with the screenwriter Melissa James Gibson’s work on a play she did at Playwrights Horizon’s in NYC. With a team that included Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti and our fantastic director Phil Morrison I knew that I would have a lot of fun.
You have a degree from Temple University in, of all things, journalism as a major.  Do you believe that your educational background in journalism has had an impact on your career as a playwright, actor, etc.? 
Absolutely. It seems that I am drawn to projects whether I create them or not that are doing their best to archive a moment in our lives.
You live day to day as a minority within a minority, as a gay black man.  How do you feel either of these traits effects your career?  Is it limiting or freeing?  Both? 
I wonder. I see it as liberating, simply because I have never had to “come out” in my career. I play diverse roles, love interested in many films and plays. With a body of work with such established directors such as Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Clint Eastwood and Lee Daniels, my sexuality or my blackness has never overshadowed my ability to give a detailed, nuanced performance that is based on the characters personal traits. One writer asked, “What does Spike Lee think of me as a gay man!” I thought is was such a strange question…honestly…no one cares. If you don’t make a big deal…no one else does. Just be who you are and do the work. I don’t let myself as a gay black man, marginalize me in any of my work or choices. It all starts with how I see myself first and then everyone else follows suit.
Colman Domingo Lincoln 10.22.12 Screening NYC - - Colman DomingoYou have had great success in the world television, film, and especially on stage.  If you had to choose only one to finish of your professional days with, what would it be?
I will probably would go back to the root of where my heart is and that is the stage. I owe everything to stagecraft. The way that I have learned to be a collaborator and the way that I have been allowed to be as daring as ever on the stage. I would want to experience the sound of a pin dropping in the theater with me as the artist walking that tightrope between the footlights.
What are you looking to convey to audiences with your extremely personal story A Boy In His Soul, hitting the stage very soon?
We hit it! With 5 stars from the Guardian! Nice! I was trying to convey that the power of music is universal by going in on very personal experiences. And the power that great soul music holds whether it be to think back on an important moment in your life, help you navigate through something devastating that can only be addressed in song, or helping to recover memories and messages that you need for your soul.
Were there any sort of internal struggles in bringing a story that is so personal?  Please explain?
Not really. The true power of theater is when it is its most personal. By getting to the raw truth and using theatrical convention to bear your soul, I think it allows audiences to open themselves up as well. What you share is a sort of a catharsis. It is our duty as performers.
Can you also tell us a bit about The Scottsboro Boys?  How did this project come to life?
Scottsboro Boys is a daring and wildly entertaining musical explores a fascinating chapter in American history with arresting originality. The show is based on the notorious “Scottsboro” case in the 1930s, in which 9 African-American men were unjustly accused of a terrible crime. Written by the legendary team of Kander and Ebb and with a book by David Thompson and directed by 5 time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman. We began at the Vineyard Theater with the though of telling a great story about justice. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
What would you consider a role that you feel that you must absolutely perform before you retire, that you have yet to do? 
Retire? I’m only 43! lol. I haven’t thought that far away. I like to stay in the present. Right now, I’d love to tackle something new and edgy. I am sure I’d like to tackle some classics like Troy in August Wilson’s Fences or King Lear or Richard III._MG_6904
At the end of every day, what is that you have hoped to have accomplished?  What is your ultimate goal during your time on earth?
I think my ultimate goal is to bring people together with open hearts. I know that may sound like an innocent, but I think that as artists, ultimately that is what we are trying to achieve. 
What was the last thing that made you smile?
Waking up to sunshine pouring in my window. That always makes me smile.
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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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