Few actors have had as surprising a past few years as Mahershala Ali. Known for his parts on TV shows like The 4400 and House of Cards and in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the Hunger Games films, Ali went from steadily working actor to legitimate star with his 2016 role in Moonlight. He’s only in the film’s first half-hour, playing Juan, a drug dealer who can tell that a sensitive young boy needs a space to just be himself, but he’s magnetic and warm, caring and thoughtful, in a role Hollywood rarely allows to have much care and thought. Ali won an Oscar for Supporting Actor, and from there, he’s charted an eclectic, fascinating past couple of years. He’s getting Oscar buzz again for his Golden Globe-nominated role in Green Book, and he voices a pivotal character in the highly acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Then in January, he’ll be playing the lead character in the long-awaited third season of True Detective. The role, originally written for a white actor, spoke to Ali, and he convinced showrunner Nic Pizzolatto to reconceive the part so he could play it. Ali joined Todd to chat about his remarkable rise to stardom, taking the role in True Detective, and what he thinks art can do to help heal society in the 2010s. And stick around after Todd and Ali’s conversation for some of our favorite I Think You’re Interesting moments from over the years!
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