Colman Domingo is having a massive year, between a leading role in historical biopic “Rustin” and a supporting part in the blockbuster musical “The Color Purple.” But just 10 years ago, the “Euphoria” star was struggling to find TV work, and recently opened up about nearly quitting the business after getting passed over for a role on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

In a recent profile with “The New York Times,” Domingo discussed his struggles to break into onscreen acting following his Tony-nominated work in the 2011 Broadway musical “The Scottsboro Boys.” In 2014, during a week where he auditioned for eight film and TV roles, Domingo tried out for a small part as the maître d’ at a Black-owned nightclub in “Boardwalk Empire,” which was set in Atlantic City during the 1920s prohibition era. Domingo wore a tuxedo to sing and tap dance for his audition.

According to the New York Times piece, Domingo received a call from his agent following the audition where he was told that casting loved him. However, they decided to pass on him due to concerns of historical accuracy. According to Domingo, the head researcher told the show producers that maître d’s in Black-owned nightclubs of the period were typically lighter-skinned Black men than Domingo, prompting them to go with another actor.

“That’s when I lost my mind,” Domingo told the New York Times, recalling that he told his agent “I can’t take it anymore, I think this is going to kill me,” and later told his husband that he was considering quitting the acting business over the rejection.

Fortunately, Domingo only needed to wait a bit longer for his big break; he signed on to new management and secured a guest spot on the AMC series “Fear the Walking Dead” in 2015. He was promoted to lead during the second season and stayed with the show for all eight seasons before it ended this November.

Elsewhere in the interview, Domingo discussed how — following supporting parts in movies like “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and “Zola” — he decided to cease auditioning permanently and only take roles that were offered to him.

“I became an actor that was ‘offer-only’ probably sooner than the industry thought I should have,” he told the New York Times. “But I decided I have a body of work. You can go and look at it, you can ask other directors about me, and you can make me the offer or not.”

“The Color Purple” is currently playing in theaters. “Rustin” is currently streaming on Netflix. Domingo will next appear in Ethan Coen’s “Drive-Away Dolls,” which premieres in theaters on February 23, 2024.

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