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One of the most lasting presences among the talented original Hamilton cast is Daveed Diggs, who has since moved on to work in movies such as Blindspotting, and his new television series based on Bong Joon Ho’s Snowpiercer on TNT. During his time in the Broadway phenomenon, he played two characters (Marquis de Lafayette in the first act and Thomas Jefferson in the second) and, apparently, at one time he was self conscious about spewing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics on stage.
Something to keep in mind is that Hamilton was Daveed Digg’s big break. He nabbed the role after working with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chris Jackson in an improv hip-hop crew called Freestyle Love Supreme, so when he found himself in the big leagues so soon it took time for him to find his confidence. The actor revealed how he got over his fear when answering a question from WIRED about whether he sang in a French accent during the Broadway run. In his words:
The answer is ‘yes’ to the degree that I did anything with a French accent. But my best approximation, yes. You know the real reason is because anything I can do to act through singing is going to be helpful for me. Because I am so uncomfortable singing. Alex Lacamoire gave me a note one time that was to stop worrying about the singing and just act with the right pitch. As soon as he said that, I did everything from there on out with the French accent.
When he plays Marquis de Lafayette the character has a French accent when he is speaking, but, as it turns out, the actor decided to use the accent to the best of his ability for the hip-hop numbers, too, in order to help get over the uncomfortableness he had with singing. He used it as a way to kind of trick his brain into getting into character and imagining he was still acting rather than performing a song. It was a smart move because he’s one of the most powerful parts of the musical.
Although the actor is proud of his time in Hamilton, he has also expressed how “terrified” he is for his performance to be available on streaming because he doesn’t enjoy watching himself back. Daveed Diggs has also recently been candid about how troubling it is for the role of Thomas Jefferson, a known “slave master” to define his career so far and often have an affect on what he is cast in.
Diggs finds himself constantly trying to push back against being only remembered for his role as the Founding Father. Even Lin-Manuel Miranda has grappled with recent criticism Hamilton has received regarding the ongoing conversation of systemic racism in the United States. Coming up, Diggs will play Sebastian in the live-action Little Mermaid movie and have a role in Pixar’s Soul hitting theaters on November 20. If you haven’t checked out his Lafayette and Jefferson in Hamilton, you can sign up for Disney+ subscription here.