How does it feel to be nominated by your peers for a Screen Actors Guild Award?
I mean, it’s otherworldly. I got the call when I was at the gym and I have my ringer off — and of course, turned it on and there’s so many messages. I was so overjoyed. I’m literally walking down the street in New York, where I’ve treaded the boards as a younger actor, and it’s fun to be respected by my peers more than anything. That’s always been my north star — to be respected. And this feels like that. It feels like arriving at that place where your peers truly see you and they see your craftsmanship. And they see your work ethic and they see the way you lead. And they acknowledge you… I just feel very seen right now, which feels really beautiful.
What aspects of Bayard Rustin’s life were you most excited to explore on screen?
His organizational skills. I think he was such a huge champion for civil and human rights. He really dedicated his life to it. I love the way he would spar in a room. He was witty and intelligent and funny and he put all of that into many spaces that he was not truly welcomed in by him. But he was truly undaunted. I think that’s the part of him that I really love and I really connect with, where I wanted to be his advocate as an actor, and really show his fire and his fuel and his tenacity.
Have you spoken to any of your “Color Purple” cast mates today?
I haven’t yet. I just got on social media and I saw certain posts and all that. We’re on a great text feed so I’m sure the text feed will be hoppin’ pretty soon. I did hear from Oprah, which was the most beautiful thing. She was congratulating me on my own individual win and then of course, also for Best Cast. She’s overjoyed.
Can you tease anything about your upcoming series “The Madness” and “Euphoria”?
“The Madness” is a thriller. It’s really like an old school, sort of Steve McQueen. It’s really incredible, I play a CNN analyst who gets caught up in some serious trauma or espionage. Become a vigilante. It’s really cool and it’s directed by Clément Virgo. We’ve been shooting that in Toronto. Then, of course, we get back to Season 3 of “Euphoria.” And Sam [Levinson] is cooking up some new scripts. I was just with him the other night. He’s very excited about the possibility of what we’re going to do together. He likes to reinvent the series in many ways. I think there’ll be a little reinvention in a gorgeous way.
Are there any other SAG nominees you’d love to work with in the future?
Yes, are you kidding me? I’d love to work with Penelope Cruz. I’d love to work with Margot Robbie, I’d love to work with Cillian Murphy. They’re phenomenal artists. And as I’ve been getting to know them on this circuit, they’re also extremely kind. I think it’s part of this part of their superpower of being kind and generous and thoughtful, and that’s what makes them such great artists.