Aquaman hits theaters today and while the DC comic book adaptation is all about the hero saving the day, we’ve got our eyes on the villain. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is starring as Black Manta, his latest juicy role that he’s snagged this year. He’s also been cast in Jordan Peele’s upcoming thrillerUS, and the drama Sweetness in the Belly opposite Dakota Fanning. Get familiar with this talented newcomer with five things you should definitely know about Abdul-Mateen.
1. His Name Is Common In Arabic
Growing up with a Muslim father and a Christian mother, it comes as no surprise that the 32-year-old actor has a very common name in the Muslim world. Yahya is Arabic and literally translates to John The Baptist, who’s a well known prophet in Christianity and Islam. Still, it can also signify an elder in the community or a leader. Sounds about right.
2. He’s No Stranger To A Day JobDuring an exclusive interview with the New Hollywoodpodcast, Abdul-Mateen revealed that before he committed to pursuing acting full-time, he used his architecture degree to serve as a city planner in San Francisco. 3. He’s A Classically-Trained ActorLike Angela Bassett, David Alan Grier, and Lupita Nyong’o, Abdul-Mateen studied at the prestigious Yale School of Drama. It’s no wonder that he’s able to play such a range of roles.