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Yahya Abdul Mateen II Covers W Magazine's The New Originals Issue

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W Magazine’s final issue of 2020, Volume 4 The New Originals, hits stands November 18.

Yahya Abdul Mateen II Covers W Magazine's The New Originals Issue

W Magazine's final issue of 2020, Volume 4 The New Originals, hits stands November 18. A celebration of uniqueness and individuality, the second annual issue features one of the most sought after actors in entertainment, Emmy Award-Winner for Watchmen and star of The Trial of the Chicago 7, Yahya Abdul Mateen II.

Don't forget to check out the incredibly powerful feature, What do you Stand For, from the issue in which W Magazine commissioned 18 artists of color including Kara Walker, Derek Fordjour, Glenn Ligon, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave and more reimagine a new kind of political activism poster.

While shooting The Matrix 4 in Berlin Yahya Abdul Mateen discussed everything from his recent roles, how he ended up on this path, and the impact he hopes to have through acting

  • When speaking about his nude scenes in HBO's Watchmen: "Acting without clothes is a little like acting when you're exhausted. When I'm tired, I do my best work. When you're naked and painted blue, you DON'T have the energy to care about other things. I studied the character beforehand, I did a few pushups, and then I took off the robe. Being naked and having the audacity to be Doctor Manhattan, who runs the galaxy, was very freeing. And that surprised me, because I'm usually very reserved. I DON'T mind awkward silences."
  • On what his process is for choosing the roles he plays: "When I graduated from Yale, I was still very bright-eyed and wanted to have fun," he said. "But now I have my talent and a bit of recognition, and I'm thinking, What do I want to do with it? I'd like to keep that same sense of joy, but also add a mission, another layer of responsibility to tell stories that need to be told. Stories that will get people talking."
  • How his father's death inspired him to pursue acting: "I didn't want to have any regrets. I didn't want to tell anyone, but I started taking acting class at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco on Wednesday nights. I knew it was rebellious to pursue acting, but I also knew I had to try, that life is short."
  • Rejecting the idea that there is only space for one successful Black actor: "...the world is bigger than that. My mountain looks very different than yours or anyone else's. When you put us all on the same path, it means that Black artists are competing against one another. That's monolithic thinking and not good for either artistry or business. And besides, Denzel is still here! No one can do Denzel better than Denzel!"
  • Discussing the impact he hopes to make through acting: "The feeling that something I created could change things or make someone see the world differently would be the best reaction I could imagine. It is my goal to have that power again and again."

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