Do you know that people call you “the sexy Hamilton”?
I am aware of it. It makes me want to go to the gym twice a day!
How is your Hamilton different from Lin’s?
I don’t really see much of a separation, except that we’re each going to bring our own individuality to it. It’s still the same Hamilton, with the same wants, the same needs, the same goals, making the same mistakes. When I’m in the room with Lin, I’m so keen and focused on every detail. I take in exactly what he’s trying to do, who he’s trying to create, how he wants this character to tell each moment, and then I’m given the opportunity to add whatever I’m going to bring to it. So it ends up really just being a combination of us both.
Was it hard having to wait a week between performances?
It’s sort of like a crossbow, right? Like I’m coiled and ready for release for six days, and then here comes the day, let it go, and out goes the performance. Energy-wise, it was a new experience to conserve and stay focused for the day of.
For the other performances, were you there watching the show?
There’s a little stool that I sit at, offstage left, and I’d sit there and I would take the experience of my show, and I’d rewatch the moments replaying with Lin in the role, except I can focus on, say, what Leslie [Odom Jr.] was giving in that moment, what Renee [Elise Goldsberry] was giving in that moment, or Chris [Jackson], or [ensemble member] Carleigh Bettiol. Anyone on that stage that I found growth with in a certain performance, I could then sit back and watch it again and again and really digest it, and then go back that next Saturday or Sunday and grow from there. It actually was a gift to have a week to sit with that.
Are there touchstones in Lin’s performance that you carry into yours?
There are nuances and subtle details, a certain cadence he’ll have in a phrase or the way he’ll deliver a line. Like in the song “My Shot,” “I’m past patiently waitin’ / I’m passionately smashin’” — that whole segment, when the band drops out and Lin’s delivering it, I hang on those words. It’s really the height of the song for Hamilton. It’s the switch. It’s him accepting the role that he’s now going to be taking in this country. I hang on Lin’s cadence in that, to hear what he’s punctuating, to hear what he’s underlining, and let that inform me. I want to make sure I register those kinds of little things, because they’re crucial, I think, in making sure that it’s the same Hamilton.
If you can imagine this, I feel like I’m on a mountain top. I’m not at the top of the range yet, there’s farther to climb, and that’s whatever else is coming in my future. But where I’m at is: I feel like I’m standing on top of the mountain. And I could not have arrived here without each and every moment happening the way it did. The strengths that I have now, I have because of everything that has happened. I’m healthy, and I’m so good, and I’m so strong, and it’s all gratitude. It’s like, yes, that all happened, I own it, and it only made me stronger and more compassionate and that’s the kind of person I want to be. I would not wish any of these challenges on anyone, but I’m very conscious of how lucky I am, and I’m very grateful for the great fortune to be here, alive and well, and strong right now.
When the third season of “Black-ish” arrives, the Johnson family will expand.
Fresh from the Broadway smash “Hamilton,” Daveed Diggs will have a major Season 3 arc as Rainbow Johnson’s brother, Johan, Variety can exclusively reveal.
Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Johan, whose mother is a very laid-back, hippie-ish soul, had very different childhoods than Dre, and that’s partly why Johan will be a frequent thorn in Dre’s side. Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has always feared that his kids will grow up to be overly pampered, and it sounds like Johan is the personification of those fears.
“He’s sort of a hipster, entitled kid who gets on Dre’s nerves,” creator and showrunner Kenya Barris said. “He’s constantly on a search for the best conditioner for his hair. He’s probably gone to Penn or Wharton and could have gotten a great-paying job, but he’s trying to find himself. That attitude more than anything makes Dre want to strangle him.”
For Diggs, who won a Tony for playing Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in “Hamilton,” there’s even a tiny link to French culture.
Johan “has been to Paris twice and he’s like, ‘You Americans!‘” Barris said. Johan, as it happens, doesn’t like his butter to be too cold and complains about Americans’ mania for refrigeration. “He’s like, ‘This butter’s making my croissant crumble,’” according to Barris. “Dre is constantly snatching food from him.”
The upside for Johan, who will have a “substantial” recurring arc in the third season, is that the Johnson kids think he’s extremely cool — except for Diane (Marsai Martin). “She’s not buying that sh*t,” Barris said.
Barris said that most members of the “Black-ish” cast have seen “Hamilton,” and they are all fans of the hit musical. Barris saw the show twice, and both times, he was struck by how electrifying Diggs was in his dual roles of Lafayette and Jefferson.
“I was completely blown away by the whole show,” Barris said. “Everyone was great, but there was a certain charismatic nature to [Diggs] when he came out. I noticed each time — he was the guy where the audience kind of [perked] up and said, ‘Oh my God, this guy!’ And I had heard through some of the cast members and through some other people that ‘Black-ish’ was his favorite show. We had been looking for someone to bring on for [that] role, and I felt like he would be such a welcome addition to the family.”
Barris also noted that Deon Cole, a fan favorite who plays Charlie, one of Dre’s work colleagues, will be back for the third season as well. Season 3 of “Black-ish” goes into production next week and arrives on ABC Sept. 21.
You know what i really need? A variety show where the maknaes and leaders from multiple groups are invited to first have a counseling sesions to share all their hardships of being the maknaes/leaders and in the end the groups battle each other in fun games