Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

A STAR IN THE MAKING

By Lee Parham

While Candyman frontman Yahya Abdul-Mateen II might not be a household name yet, a prolific start to the actor's career is setting him up for Hollywood stardom.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1986 to a Muslim father, Yahya Abdul-Mateen I, and a Christian mother Mary.

Abdul-Mateen II went to the University of California, Berkeley as a track and field athlete and then graduated from Yale with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts while working as a stage actor.

He made his first dive into bigger acting projects in 2016’s The Get Down, a Netflix musical drama from acclaimed director Baz Luhrmann as Clarence Cadillac Caldwell, the prince of the disco world.

Success in the musical genre on television led to Abdul-Mateen II getting a role in the 2017 hit film The Greatest Showman, where he played the brother to Zendaya’s character Anne Wheeler.

2017 also witnessed Abdul-Mateen II taking his talents to the beach with a comedic turn in Baywatch, a remake of the classic 1990s TV series of the same name.

Baywatch wouldn’t be the last aquatic-themed effort for the actor, as Abdul-Mateen II landed the villainous role of Black Manta in DC’s Aquaman. His character is set to return in the 2022 sequel.

Abdul-Mateen II was able to bring another DC Comics character to life, this time as Dr. Manhattan in the HBO Watchmen series based on the iconic graphic novel.

Supporting roles in television shows such as Watchmen has proved to be a huge outlet for Abdul-Mateen II, with parts in others like The Handmaid’s Tale and an appearance on Black Mirror.

Black Mirror

The Handmaid's Tale

However, Abdul-Mateen hadn’t received mainstream critical acclaim until the release of 2020’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 where he portrayed Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party.

Abdul-Mateen II's latest role is seen in Candyman, the sequel to the 1992 horror film of the same name from. He stars as the movie main character Anthony McCoy with a script penned by Jordan Peele.

Abdul-Mateen II is slated to appear in the fourth installment of the Matrix series. The sequel, The Matrix: Resurrections, is set to release around Christmas time in 2021 and his role is unknown.

Yahya has additionally been announced as part of the ensemble cast of Furiosa, a spinoff prequel of the Mad Max series alongside Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead role and Chris Hemsworth.

Despite a limited filmography thus far, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has quickly cemented himself as one of Hollywood’s strongest up-and-coming actors and is expected to be a mainstay for years to come.