Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is busy getting ready to play Arthur Curry's enemy, Black Manta, on the big screen. Filming for next year's DC Extended Universe release Aquaman begins this summer, and the talented array of castmembers joining stars Jason Momoa (Aquaman/Arthur Curry) and Amber Heard (Mera) have been steadily revealing their involvement in the upcoming film. This includes Abdul-Mateen II, who recently confirmed his part as the relentless villain on Twitter.
The effects-heavy and action-oriented DCEU adventure understandably requires a lot of physical training, as evidenced by the photos and videos of Heard undergoing intense sword-fighting for the film. In an impromptu Twitter Q&A, Abdul-Mateen described his own martial arts training as "the scary kind," but that's not the only preparation he's doing for his Aquaman role.
After confessing that he was "never into comics" before landing the role as Black Manta, the actor said he was diving into a recent collection of Aquaman issues, "Black Manta Rising", and asked for suggestions on further reading on his character. A day after receiving a slew of responses, Abdul-Mateen posted evidence of his comic research on Instagram, which you can see below, thanking the "crazy, hilarious people" for helping him find the best issues.
Thanks a bunch to everyone who tuned in to my impromptu twitter Q&A yesterday! My favourite thing about social media is that it puts me directly in touch with you CRAZY HILARIOUS PEOPLE!! Can't wait to do it again! And thanks for the Black Manta Suggestions!!! Looks like I've got some reading to do! #Thankyou :v::skin-tone-5::v::skin-tone-5:
At the center of the collection of Aquaman comics is an issue of the New Suicide Squad, a series which began in 2014 and includes Black Manta as the leader of the team of misfit antiheroes. Considering the prominence of the issue in the photo, it could be a hint that Abdul-Mateen is not only preparing for Aquaman, but possibly for other DCEU films in the future (including, perhaps, the big screen sequel to last year's Suicide Squad movie).
While the varying backstories that Black Manta has had in the comics might not directly inform Abdul-Mateen's role in the Aquaman movie adaptation, it was clear from his responses in the Q&A that he's excited to get any inspiration he can for the character's single-minded quest to destroy Aquaman. His enthusiasm for the project should be a positive sign for DC fans that he'll be diligently working towards the best portrayal of the villain possible.
Of course, Black Manta shouldn't be the only antagonistic force that Momoa's Aquaman has to deal with during his solo movie - what with Patrick Wilson playing Orm the Ocean Master, Arthur's half-brother and not typically friendly sibling from the comics.
Source: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
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- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020