Am I a seducer of people? Possibly,” said Colman Domingo when asked of his similarities to Victor Strand, the enigmatic character he brings to life on AMC’s hit series “Fear the Walking Dead.” “I seduce in a different way. I seduce with laughter.”
The self-described “bit of a wild card” from Philadelphia has been tearing it up in recent years with an impressive variety of roles in history dramas: “Selma,” “The Butler,” “Lincoln” and Cinemax’s “The Knick.”
The topic turns to those experiences.
“Ava [DuVernay] embraces each one of her cast every single day,” he recalled. “She really leads them with love. Then you have people like Lee Daniels, who gets into your psyche and helps you break certain tropes that you do with your work. I learned a lot from Lee.”
Domingo has also sharpened his craft with stage legend Susan Stroman; Spike Lee, who he likens to a “basketball coach basically;” the trusting Clint Eastwood; and visionary Steven Spielberg, who he calls “one of the loveliest men you’ll ever work with.”
Now it is his turn in the director’s chair for Robert O’Hara’s raucous satire “Barbecue,” playing through Oct. 16 in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse.
“It’s also still dealing with very heavy serious themes,” he said, “but the way we skewer it really helps us examine who we are by laughing our natural asses off.”
The stellar cast features Yvette Cason, the NAACP Theatre Award winner who previously toured with Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder; Omar J. Dorsey, adored by millions as the grounded Hollywood Desonier on OWN’s “Queen Sugar;” Dale Dickey, so memorable on “Justified” and True Blood;” Kimberly Hébert Gregory from HBO’s “Vice-Principals;” and legendary redhead Frances Fisher, best known for “Titanic” and “Unforgiven.”
Domingo is no stranger to the stage with a musical Tony nomination under his belt for his performance in “The Scottsboro Boys.”
“I pull that out when I need to,” he said after a laugh. “I think of myself as a character singer. I’m no Audra MacDonald or Norm Lewis, but I can tell a story with my voice.”
This stylish renaissance man has wrapped roles in “Horace and Pete,” “Bojack Horseman” and Netflix’ upcoming “First Match.” He also has been researching musicals for a Nat King Cole project he’s writing; and just obtained the rights to a biography of James Baldwin.
“I think his story is an important one to tell and it’s ripe for the times,” he said of the iconic author’s life. “We have to examine his history, and his struggle, and his mind to examine what’s happening in America today politically, economically, socially. You name it and it is the story of progress and hope.”
Domingo will next be seen on the big screen in the long-awaited biopic “The Birth of a Nation” as Hark, a documented brother in arms to slave revolt leader Nat Turner.
Of the controversy that has shrouded the movie’s acquitted director Nate Parker and co-writer Jean Celestin, he hopes that the piece stands on its own merit.
“The film was made by over 400 other artists as well,” he said. “Nate led the charge but there were over 400 people whose blood, sweat and tears went into the telling of Nat Turner’s story and it needs to be out there.”
“It’s such a sensitive case and something that was 17 years ago in someone’s private exchange, or three people or whoever it was,” continued Domingo of the duo’s campus rape charges. “I leave it to them. It’s not for me to try someone again for something I have no privy to.”
“I just hope honestly that people can actually see that this film hasn’t been made by one person. If they want to see “Birth of a Nation,” go see Colman Domingo’s “Birth of a Nation,” and Gabrielle Union’s, and Aja Naomi King ‘s, and Roger Guenveur Smith‘s “Birth of a Nation.” These are people who stand always for justice for human kind, and they’re very interested in telling the story of an American hero that no one has been trying to tell.”
CLIPPETTES: “Barry,” Vikram Ghandhi’s biopic of President Barack Obama’s early college years, was acquired by Netflix at the Toronto International Film Festival. Devon Terrell, Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”) and Ashley Judd star …
Hip-hop pioneer Arthur Baker (“Planet Rock,” “Confusion”) will give a rare performance at the grand opening of Oscillator (downtown Los Angeles) on Sept. 24 with Cut Chemist paying tribute …
Patrice Rushen, Ndugu Chancler, Munyungo Jackson, Bobby Rodriquez, Justo Almario and Doc Gibbs are slated to participate in the 35th annual Watts Towers Day of the Drums on Sept. 24 and the 40th annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival the following day. Visit wattstowers.org for info …
The inaugural “Dolla Day” featuring Ty Dolla $ign & Friends, powered by Hip Hop Caucus, Revolve Impact and NextGen Climate, will take place on Sept. 25 at The Palladium …
Fool’s Gold Day Off with Mac Miller and Pusha T is at the Shrine LA Outdoors on Sept. 25 …
Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, George Lopez and Ellen DeGeneres mentor an 11-year-old comic Saffron Herndon in “Little Funny,” a reality show in production for A&E …
Drake brings his Summer Sixteen Tour to The Forum on Sept. 27; while Damian “Jr Gong” Marley is in concert at The Roxy …
Tracy Morgan makes his triumphant return Sept. 29 at The Novo. Grammy-winning trio KING also is back at the Troubadour.
TC ON TV: Sept. 23 – “The Rap Game” (Lifetime): J.I., Lil’ Key and Nia Kay are fighting hard for the crown tonight.
Sept. 25 – “Super Soul Sunday” (OWN): Cookie Johnson. “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (CNN): Season premiere features President Obama dining in Hanoi.
TASTY QUIP: “We are in a political climate where we are being led — by the media, no offense — to vote for the loudest candidate and the meanest, the bulliest candidate in the playground, and that we are voting based on a cult of personality or a cult of celebrity rather than voting in our best interest. I think if we really look at policy, voting for Trump is voting against our best interests as Americans, as workers, as people of color, as women. Not voting is voting against ourselves.” – KERRY WASHINGTON on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.