Yahya Abdul-Mateen II made his breakthrough to the worldwide audience with his villainous role as Black Manta in 2018's Aquaman. He is also expected to reprise the role in the upcoming sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom with a bigger screen time. However, despite the huge success that he got from starring in the first film, his feelings towards it weren't as positive as his other works.
In a recent interview with Vulture, Abdul-Mateen gets honest about his process of working as an actor including calling his Aquaman job "clown work" and claiming that actors do that type of role in order to get over themselves.
"Everything should be about getting to the truth. But sometimes you got to know which movie or genre you’re in," Abdul-Mateen said. "Something like Aquaman, that’s clown work. Aquaman is not The Trial of the Chicago 7. You gotta get over yourself."
The Emmy winner added, "In order to survive and to do it well, you have to play that game and then be crafty about when you want to surprise the audience, the director, or yourself with a little bit of ‘Wow, I didn’t expect to see a Chekhovian thing or August Wilson and Aquaman, but I did.’"
For the past few years, we've been hearing a lot of debates regarding the validity of comic book movies as part of cinematic history and legacy. Considering that Abdul-Mateen is actively working on the genre, it is jarring for some fans to hear such comments from him while still being part of a comic book franchise.
Sometime after the article was released, Abdul-Mateen tweeted that he was thinking of clarifying his comments, but he opted not to since it is "no fun" to do it. He also ended up promoting the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom next year accompanied by a photo of him wearing a red clown nose.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is slated for release in theaters on December 25, 2023.