Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: I am inspired by Indian cinema | Hollywood

Emmy-winning Hollywood actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is deeply inspired by different facets of Indian culture, but it’s the directing style that interests him the most.

Here are excerpts from our conversation with the award-winning actor.

* We hear that you are truly inspired by Indian culture. Can you share a bit about this?

Oh, yes, that’s true. I am indeed inspired by many things from India.

* What things about Indian culture come to mind when we mention India?

I instantly think of directing style, music, colors, fashion and other aspects of culture.

* What about the Indian cinema you like?

When it comes to cinema, how everything (the culture aspect) is infused into one, I hope that’s a respectable term, in a show. I mean, it’s the movies and the cinematic experience that are really exciting and exhilarating to me. This is an aspect that influences me a lot.

* You mention that you draw inspiration from real life as an actor. Can you explain how it helps you in your craft?

In some ways, it helps an actor live a full life to add their experiences and things appropriately.

* But what about other times when you can’t relate to real life?

At other times it helps to have a rich imagination and make up stories and things like that too.

* Can you explain it with a recent example?

Yeah, well, for example, in Ambulance, I relied on what it’s like to have an older brother, to copy my brother, but also to try to rebel and do my own thing, and then to fight with my sisters.

* How?

Being one of my five siblings, fighting for your voice and wanting to be seen and create your own identity. It’s those opportunities to take real life and stage (which is important) what I did with Ambulance.

* Speaking of Ambulance, the film was shot in Los Angeles. How did the city influence the script?

The great financial need is right in the middle of the backdrop, whether it’s when we’re in Beverly Hills, California’s affluent neighborhoods, or elsewhere. You also see it in the movie when you see my character and Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, who also pilots their actions. And ambition is a very important part of the narrative in the film.

* Is there a particular case of filming that sticks in your mind?

We shot at the Los Angeles River and at the convention center. It was interesting to walk through this maze, which really stretched out, which made it feel like a much wider route than it actually was. It took creativity, ingenuity and a lot of our skills to shoot there.

* All of Hollywood is nestled in Los Angeles, with so many movies filming in the city at the same time. Tell us, how does the city inspire industry?

I will tell you that just 20 minutes by car from the city, you can see several different lifestyles and see different ambitions. It shows the possibility that what could be is always right in front of your face in some way. For those less fortunate financially, there is always an opportunity to see what could be done to have something you desire (which is also seen in the projects).