If you didn’t know Yahya Abdul-Mateen II before, you better know him now, because you’re really going to notice the actor even more in the near future. The 34-year-old actor has a major villain role in the DCEU’s Aquaman franchise, he blew us away as his role was Cal Abar on HBO’s Watchmen in the action space, did a standout portrayal of Bobby Seale in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and has worked with Jordan Peele on his horror endeavors a couple times with Us and the upcoming Candyman sequel. With this, the filmmaker provided Abdul-Mateen with a bit of advice.
With Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doing so much right now (including taking part in the Matrix franchise), it's a wonder that he ever gets any time to rest. But while taking a breather with W Magazine, the talent was asked about if he was given any acting advice that he thinks about all the time. Here’s what he said:
Yeah. When I was doing Us, Jordan Peele told me, 'Don’t do it if you don’t love it.' And that was important advice, especially if you are lucky enough to have choices and opportunities. When you have momentum and talent, it’s easy to say yes. But it’s even more crucial to do only what you love.
It’s a mantra that could apply to any aspect of life but, when the Get Out director told it to Abdul-Mateen, the Watchmen star remembered it and has applied it to his career ever since. Abdul-Mateen and Peele crossed paths back in 2018 when he cast him to play the father of Lupita Nyong’o’s Adelaide Wilson in the horror movie. The supporting role led to the actor being called upon to star in his continuation of the Candyman franchise, which is finally set to arrive this summer.
As Yahya Abdul-Mateen II explains in the interview, he’s had a lot of opportunities waved in front of him for the past few years as he’s become more visible in the entertainment industry. But since then, he’s really focused on picking projects that he’s passionate about, and I’d say he’s hit the jackpot in that light. The actor is making movies that movie fans can get excited about, and that’s not by accident given the way he looks at his career.
Of course, a career like his doesn’t just happen to anyone and projects like Matrix and Furiosa don’t come along for just any performer. Abdul-Mateen must have some kind of way about him during the casting process that allows him to stand out from the pack. The actor did share that he wears mismatched socks to auditions so he knows he already “messed up” and it takes the pressure off for himself.