Life after ‘Hamilton’: ‘That Daveed Diggs that everybody fell in love with does not exist anywhere but on that stage’

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Daveed Diggs, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Rafael Casal on the set of “Blindspotting.” Photo courtesy of Starz.

Daveed Diggs made his Broadway debut when his friend and fellow rapper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, cast him in a show as Marquis de Lafayette and a very saucy Thomas Jefferson.

Diggs won a Tony and a Grammy for those performances, and he might add an Emmy nomination for the film version of “Hamilton,” which premiered on Disney+ last year. 

Diggs was a free-spirited artist and rapper from Oakland before the show transformed his life. He still largely sees himself that way, even if others may not.

“That Daveed Diggs that everybody fell in love with in that show does not exist anywhere but on that stage. And I guess he exists on the audio recording too.”

Now there’s the movie version too. 

“I don’t think it’s a point of conflict in terms of my career,” Diggs says. “I’ve had a very diverse set of opportunities come my way, and I think that’s wonderful. It’s more just a decision for me, and how much am I OK with that guy sharing my name and likeness and being a lot more famous than me.”

When Diggs stepped away from “Hamilton” in 2016, he booked recurring roles in “Black-ish” and “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Now he plays the lead in the TNT series, “Snowpiercer,” which is currently in production for season three. 

Diggs also co-wrote and starred in the movie “Blindspotting” with his longtime creative partner Rafael Casal. Now he and Casal have turned that film into a series on Starz, though Diggs is staying behind the camera this time.

Diggs tells KCRW that after spending a decade launching the film version of “Blindspotting” in 2018, he and Casal were hesitant to revisit it in a TV show. 

“Lionsgate thought that there was a series there, and we were certain there wasn’t.”

But once they landed on the idea of centering the series around Ashley, played by Jasmine Cephas Jones, they were off and running. 

Diggs also discusses how he picks which projects to pursue, and the intense preparation that went into voicing Sebastian the crab for the upcoming version of “The Little Mermaid.”

Credits

Guest:

Host:

Kim Masters

Producer:

Kaitlin Parker