Since his acting debut on Netflix’s The Get Down in 2018 as the prince of the disco world, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has been on a roll when it comes to his roles on screen. If there’s one thing the NOLA native will give us, it’s acting range as demonstrated by his ability to star in musical dramas, action, comedy, and dramatic limited series like HBO’s Watchmen.
“It was nice to just be a dude who was deeply in love and would do anything to protect that love,” said the Yale School of Drama graduate who appears on the cover of the July/August issue of ESSENCE. “There were still magical elements to it—but to get to star opposite Regina, and to flirt and dance and protect and be a husband, I was really craving that,” he said of the role. “My heart was craving that. My artistry was craving the chance to just be simple.”
As the star of the upcoming horror film Candyman, Yahya is about to return to much more complicated waters, but with the resume he’s built over the past six years we know it’s nothing he can’t handle. Check out our Screen Kings cover star’s most notable roles to date below.
Director Nia DaCosta told us
it was Yahya’s role as Russel Thomas/Weyland in ‘US’ that let her know he was the guy for the leading role in ‘Candyman.’ “I remember being impressed with how much he did with that role,” she said. “He was able to create a full character with a long, specific history, with such little real estate.”
For his role in HBO’s limited series, Abdul-Mateen earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie in 2019.
Opposite Marvel star Anthony Mackie, Abdul-Mateen played one of the two main characters in a season five episode of Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’.
‘The Get Down’
In 2018, Abdul-Mateen launched his acting career on Netflix’s ‘The Get Down’ as Clarence “Cadillac” Caldwell.
Making his appearance in the DC Extended Universe, he starred as fictional supervillain Black Manta (David Hyde).
‘The Greatest Showman’
Based on the life of American showman P.T. Barnum, Abdul-Mateen starred in the film as WD Wheeler, who was described as a smart hand-to-hand acrobat partner.
Starring alongside Dwayne Johnson and ‘The Greatest Showman’ star Zac Efron, Abdul-Mateen starred as Sgt. Garner Ellerbee in this 2017 action comedy film.
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’
Starring as Bobby Seale, Abdul-Mateen’s role in the 2020 film opposite his incredible cast earned them a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture