Isaiah Mustafa seals a talent deal
Look at your man. Now look at Isaiah Mustafa.Now back at your man. Sadly, he is not Isaiah Mustafa, who has just sealed a talent deal with NBC. Mustafa’s turn as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” in a series of Old Spice commercials has garnered the struggling thesp a lot of attention this year, particularly after the spot aired during the Super Bowl. Since then, Mustafa — whose previous credits were bit parts on series such as “NCIS,” “Ugly Betty” and “Castle” — has seen his stock rise dramatically. “It even got him a spot on Oprah,” said NBC Universal casting exec VP Grace Wu. “He made such an impression in such a short spot.” Wu said she began meeting with Mustafa soon after the commercial aired and attempted to find a spot for him on one of NBC’s pilots this spring. But nothing panned out. Nonetheless, “we felt he was a piece of talent worth developing,” she said. “He’s an attractive guy who’s just as funny and charming.” Wu said she plans to have Mustafa audition for spots on several of NBC’s current and new series, as well as keep him in play for futurepilots. The actor will first be geared toward sitcoms — given the comedy chops he exhibited in those Old Spice spots. But the actor could also wind up on more light-hearted hours such as upcoming anthology series “Love Bites,” or quirky actioner “Chuck.” Mustafa said he met with several networks and studios but zeroed in on NBC because of its comedy patina. “I grew up in that ‘Cosby Show,’ ‘Family Ties’ era, and kept that going even through college with ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Friends,’ ” he said. “To me, they controlled comedy and dictated my life on Thursday nights. And I think that’s my strength, doing comedy.” Mustafa said he just shot another Old Spice commercial, which is set to air in the coming months. In the meantime, he has pulled back from doing other ads. “I’ve been doing this for eight years,” said Mustafa, who got into acting after playing in the NFL between 1997 and 2000. “And I’m still pushing hard. When this came out, it felt like my work had paid off.” Isaiah Mustafa is on a horse.