Colman Domingo On How He Brought William Burke To The Candyman Mythology

This past weekend was the release of Universal Pictures’ Candyman. Despite all the hardships that our country is unfortunately going through, the film was able to exceed the box office expectations. The film features Colman Domingo who you should already know from films like Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Or television series like AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead. In Candyman, you may recall his voice from the trailer, serving as a storyteller of the urban legend that is Candyman. Of course, he ends up being someone a little more complex.

But Domingo in real life isn’t someone who likes to mess with urban legends. This is something LRM Online found out while attending a press conference with Domingo ahead of the release of Candyman. During the conversation, revealed the reason why he never tried to summon the killer with a hook for a hand.

“Because I’m a big wuss I stayed away from Candyman for a long time. I think that like one of the characters in Candyman says black people shouldn’t invoke things because we’re already under enough distress and trauma. Just making it day to day in this world that we don’t want to. We shouldn’t invoke even more. So I think that that’s why I stayed away from it.” Said Domingo.


If there was one person that could bring him to the horror genre, it was going to be Jordan Peele. Domingo explains how as soon as he talked with him and learned about his role, he dove headfirst into examining the myth of Candyman.

“Once I had the blessing of Jordan Peele writing this role for me in Candyman. It was time to take a deep dive in deeper examination into the myth of Candyman. I watched the film and I thought it was an incredible film and I understood why it stood the test of time. Why the themes were very relevant and very provocative and profound. Then as it explored in our film, I think it sort of elevates it, it dials up a few notches because it really deals with them, things that are on our minds right now.” He Continued.


“Especially this year, racial reckoning in America and around the world. I think arguments about ideology and who we are as black people with art and with criticism, with gentrification, taking over spaces. I think it’s unpacking a lot of those things that we’re actually dealing with. This genre in particular is so seductive and sexy for this work and this deeper examination. It’s a way that it’s palatable and we can really do all this unpacking together. Then that’s what I really love about being a part of it.”

No doubt that Peele has really taken the horror genre to a whole new level. As he has used his films like Get Out and Us to express the horrors that affect some people. Now he takes a cult classic figure and he elevates him to make him relevant in 2021. In Candyman, Domingo plays the character of William Burke. He is a key and complex character in the film. Domingo shared with us how he prepared for the role. Unfortunately, his inspiration was very close to home, as it is for a lot of people in our country.

“You know what, there was a few ways that I’ve prepared with it. One was the source material of Candyman. Then the other is really just taking what was on the page. Which was this psychological examination of trauma and mental illness. I wanted to make sure that he was sort of an ordinary human being, an ordinary man who no one actually really looks at. He’s one of these guys in the neighborhood that is sort of like, I’m sure there’s probably lore and mythology put on him because of his trauma in the community. I don’t know if he’s someone that has a lot of friends or colleagues or people that he just knows he exists.” Said Domingo.

“So I looked at characters that I grew up with. I’m from the inner city of Philadelphia. I’m a black man in America, so there’s a lot of things that didn’t have to go too far to do my work. But it is really examining the history of trauma towards black bodies. Especially towards black men in America and how that affects you and affects your psyche. That’s something that I didn’t have to reach too far away from as well. I could go to my newspaper. I can go to a newsfeed and see that every single day, unfortunately, but you take all of that. Then you look at the character’s purpose and you look at the way he’s really laid out. I want to find ways to love this character and make sure that we have compassion for him as well while he was about to do some really awful things.”

While Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris were fantastic in the film, I loved Domingo’s, William Burke. His character feels like it is now part of that classic Candyman mythology. What did you think of Domingo’s character? Let us know in the comment section down below! Universal Pictures’ Candyman is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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