Out Actor Colman Domingo to Play Gay Civil Rights Pioneer Bayard Rustin in Biopic

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday October 6, 2021
Originally published on October 6, 2021

Out actor Colman Domingo has signed on to portray LGTBQ+ civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin in a biopic being produced for Netflix by Higher Ground, the company owned by Barack and Michelle Obama, Popsugar Reports.

"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" director George C. Wolfe helms the project, which, the site noted, boasts a slate of Hollywood A-listers, including Audra McDonald, Chris Rock, and Glynn Turman. The film's story "will focus on the many obstacles that the influential figure faced in his life — including police brutality and criticism over his sexuality" and is set in the lead-up to "the 1963 March on Washington," which Rustin took the lead in organizing. That march is "the very place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech," the site added.

"Domingo worked with Wolfe on 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," Variety recalled. "His credits include 'If Beale Street Could Talk' and 'Candyman.'"

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film has a title — "Rustin" — and was co-written by Wolfe and out screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won the Oscar for penning the 2008 film "Milk," a biopic about another groundbreaking figure in the LGBTQ+ equality struggle, Harvey Milk.

Though this will be the first narrative feature from Higher Ground, the Obamas' production company has already won an Oscar for the 2019 documentary "American Factory," The Hollywood Reporter recalled.

Click on this link to watch The Hollywood Reporter video clip on the story.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.