As Yahya Abdul-Mateen II‘s star continues to rise following standout performances in HBO’s Watchmen, The Matrix Resurrections, and more recently, the Michael Bay actioner, Ambulance, the actor had some, uh, interesting words for his work in the Aquaman films.
In the original movie, Abdul-Mateen played the classic comic book Aquaman villain, Black Manta, who will reportedly have a much larger role in the heavily anticipated sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. However, the actor is under no delusions that his performance in the superhero realm is on par with his upcoming work in the Broadway play Topdog/Underdog. Via Vulture:
“Everything should be about getting to the truth. But sometimes you got to know which movie or genre you’re in,” Abdul-Mateen says. “Something like Aquaman, that’s clown work. Aquaman is not The Trial of the Chicago 7. You gotta get over yourself.” He puts the clown designation a different way: “In order to survive and to do it well, you have to play that game and then be crafty about when you want to surprise the audience, the director, or yourself with a little bit of ‘Wow, I didn’t expect to see a Chekhovian thing or August Wilson and Aquaman, but I did.’ ”
While it might seem like Adbul-Mateen is dogging his work as Black Manta, he also appears to be saying that starring in Aquaman requires setting aside your ego and proving that you can tackle any role as an actor. Considering how passionate DC Comics fans can get, it’ll be interesting to see how Abdul-Mateen’s words are received. Particularly at a time when Warner Bros. Discovery is going through some things and trying to figure out what to heck to do with its DC Films.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom clowns it way into theaters on December 25, 2023, unless it’s delayed for a third time, which could happen. Who knows at this point?