Daveed Diggs On Constantly Feeling Like He's Being Typecast As Hamilton's Thomas Jefferson

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit Broadway show Hamilton has become a pop culture phenomenon since opening back in 2015. The principal cast, Tony Awards in hand, have gone on to a variety of TV and film projects, including Daveed Diggs. This performance has been immortalized thanks to the Hamilton movie on Disney+, which captures his dual role as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson. Although he seems to believe Jefferson in particular has led to some typecasting.

Daveed Diggs was involved in Hamilton since its original workshop in 2014, staying on through Off-Broadway run and eventually the Broadway cast. Diggs won a Tony for his dual roles in the show, and has taken on an variety of film roles in the years since. Still, Diggs admits that the shadow of his Thomas Jefferson looms above his career. As he put it,

I am being followed by the specter of [Hamilton's] Thomas Jefferson — probably for the rest of my life, which is weird. To have that particular slave master chasing you is intense. Even in my limited distance from that, I get the impetus to try and do everything in your power to do something that is not that. And there is a point in every meeting where you start to get the feeling that maybe what they are looking for is, 'Thomas Jefferson in outer space,' or something, and it's always disheartening. (Laughter.)

Typecasting is a common occurrence in the entertainment world, especially if you're known for a particularly iconic performance. Daveed Diggs' name will likely always be associated with Hamilton, with the actor having to selectively choose roles that aren't too similar to his rapping antagonist. And he's been busy since departing that role on the great white way.

Daveed Diggs' comments to THR's drama actor round table peel back the curtain on the specifics of his successful career as an actor. Because while the exposure and awards that came with Hamilton gave him bigger platform, it also came with plenty of offers for Jefferson-esque roles. On top of this being professionally frustration, Diggs also has mixed feelings about this association due to the Founding Father's history with slavery.

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Since departing his role as Lafayette/Jefferson in Hamilton back in July of 2016, Daveed Diggs has been very busy working on various film projects. After taking home the Tony for Best Featured Actor, he went to streaming in Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down and Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He then started booking film roles like Blindspotting and Wonder, before landing his role in TNT's Snowpiercer. He's also set to appear as Sebastian in the upcoming Little Mermaid movie, which is perhaps the closest gig to his Hamilton role given the need for his musicality and high energy performance.

We'll just have to see what comes next for Daveed Diggs, and which roles he'll have to pass on for being too close to Hamilton's Jefferson. You can check out Diggs' outstanding performance in the musical on Disney+. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.