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10 Actors to Watch: Daveed Diggs Makes Feature Debut With ‘Wonder’

Daveed Diggs is one of Variety‘s 10 Actors to Watch for 2017. For the full list, click here.

Anyone lucky enough to land a ticket to the Broadway smash “Hamilton” can vouch for Diggs’ star power; his dual roles of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson won the rapper-actor a Tony Award and spawned countless Internet memes. It wasn’t long before Hollywood came calling and now the 35-year-old Oakland native has one of the busiest slates in the industry. “Everything in my life is a scheduling nightmare at this point,” says Diggs with a laugh, but he’s not complaining.

After wrapping his run in Hamilton in July 2016, Diggs notes, “I didn’t get a day off for almost two months after I left the show.” First, he flew to the Vancouver set of “Wonder,” the film adaptation of the R.J. Palacio novel starring Jacob Tremblay as a disfigured child who enters public school for the first time. He left straight from there to shoot “Tour de Pharmacy” for HBO, then went right into ABC’s “Black-ish.”

Diggs, who also had a memorable arc on Netflix’s “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” is currently shooting the TNT series “Snowpiercer,” an adaptation of the Bong Joon-ho film. Diggs can’t reveal anything about the show, but he couldn’t be more enthusiastic. “After ‘Hamilton,’ I had a ton of offers for pilots, stuff that was really good. But after doing a show for two years, the idea of signing away six years was daunting to me so I said no to almost everything. The second I read this pilot, I hadn’t seen the movie, I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’”

Coming up, Diggs says he will make “a little cameo at some point” on “The Mayor,” the new ABC series he executive produces about a young rapper who runs for mayor and wins. He also has a new album with his hip-hop group Clipping in the works, and recently shot the feature “Blindspotting,” which he co-wrote and stars in with his friend Rafael Casal. “It’s about two lifelong friends in Oakland and their responses to gentrification,” he says. “It’s a passion project we’ve been writing for nine years. I happened to have 22 days free in June and we shot it in exactly 22 days.”

Influences: His dad, E-40, Aesop Rock, Carl Lumbly, Tarell Alvin McCraney, N.K. Jemisin
Representation: Agency: WME; Manager: Brookside Artist Management

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