It Took Colman Domingo Three Decades to Reach the Summit of Hollywood. Now What?

Back in Downtown LA, Domingo and I have settled in at an oyster bar he likes, where he orders a half dozen, plus his usual shrimp and grits. At this stage of his career, he’s become known for possessing a certain type of gravitas—his voice, his solid presence, his age—which his nuanced and profound performance in Sing Sing will do nothing to dissuade. But the actual gamut of projects that he has on the horizon are more varied.

The upcoming film he’s most passionate about is Unforgettable, a Nat King Cole biopic that he’ll write, direct, produce, and star in. The story is set in 1957, around the end of the jazz musician’s variety show. While securing the funding for Unforgettable, Domingo is in the midst of filming two other projects. The Madness is a dark thriller series for Netflix, in which he plays a CNN pundit who gets caught up in a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. (Heavy Pelican Brief vibes confirmed.) He also portrays Joe Jackson in a forthcoming biopic of Michael Jackson that’s financed, in part, by the Jackson estate.

As reported by Puck, the film is supposedly planning to address the sexual abuse allegations against Jackson head-on while also attempting to rehabilitate his image. Did he have any qualms signing onto a project that might be perceived as trying to prove Jackson’s innocence?

“I actually don’t think it’s trying to prove his innocence,” Domingo says. “I think it’s actually just trying to give a great examination of an artist, what made the artist who he is, what makes him complicated, for you to leave with your own answers. There’s a myriad of answers and possibilities, but here’s a human being, and you can’t discount a person’s humanity. I think that’s exactly what it’s aiming to do. And I think that’s why most of us got on board.”

As a guest star, he hasn’t yet been asked back to season three of Euphoria, and he resists adding more fuel to the fire about the show’s reportedly troubled production. (Season three has been delayed amid reports that HBO had creator Sam Levinson scrap his scripts; stars Zendaya, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney, and Hunter Schafer—not to mention Domingo himself—have also gotten so much more famous in the interim that getting the gang back together feels increasingly unlikely.)

“Sam’s my friend. I haven’t talked to him about this because I know that it seems that there’s a lot of different stories swirling around. I have no idea,” Domingo says. “I like to mind my business. Until it’s something that affects me, I mind my business.”

That said, considering all the noise and accusations that Levinson has created toxic work environments, Domingo feels that the Euphoria creator has been “misunderstood” in general. “I know Sam very well, and I know his heart. I know his kindness and his generosity,” he says. “People want to villainize him, for whatever reason, which I also think is very interesting, that people want to villainize someone who has been so open and honest about their own struggles with addiction and chooses to write about it so we can heal our hearts and ourselves.”

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