Yahya Abdul-Mateen II talks about his role in Candyman

·3-min read

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has revealed that there was some concern over taking on the lead role in Candyman.

The new movie is a direct sequel to the 1992 horror classic and sees Abdul-Mateen II play a visual artist who gets drawn to the Cabrini Green legend of Candyman. However, as he explores it further for painting inspiration, his own sanity begins to unravel.

Talking to Digital Spy, the star revealed that while he didn't see the movie around the time of its release, he knew about "the bees and the man with the hook", adding: "Tony Todd's performance left a lasting impression for an entire generation. I was definitely included in that as well."

You'd think it was that legacy that might have made him question taking on the role, but it was actually the fact that he would be in a horror movie that gave him pause.

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

"My apprehension about horror was that I wouldn't have an opportunity to do good acting, and I was really fortunate to land on a script that gave me the opportunities to have some real moments with some heart and soul," Abdul-Mateen II explained.

"I think because of the specific type of projects that I did, working in Us and working with Jordan Peele, I think I had a more naturalistic experience as an actor in terms of what I was required to do.

"I didn't notice very much different about the genre, that will probably fall more on the director, but I was very fortunate to come in and give heart to a story that I cared about and let the traditional horror elements revolve around me."

And Candyman certainly doesn't skimp on those elements as there is definitely a lot of blood and some body horror that isn't for the squeamish. But as with the original movie, the sequel is about something deeper than just creeping you out.

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

While the story may be familiar to Candyman fans, this isn't a remake and the modern setting allows the movie to explore relevant and uncomfortable themes that will be long-debated after the credits roll.

"I knew that if we wanted to do the Candyman story again that we had to have a good reason to do it. The first one was very strong and I thought they executed what they wanted to do really well, so we had to make sure there was a proper reason to attempt it again," Abdul-Mateen II noted.

"I'm really happy that this film is talking about the subject of unwilling martyrs and the trauma placed on the bodies of the Black community and the trauma within the Black experience at the hands of white violence and what we can do with that.

"I'm pleased to see that this iteration had some admirable goals that we could achieve through our storytelling."

Candyman is released in cinemas on August 27.

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