When it was announced last year that actress Zazie Beetz would play Domino in Deadpool 2, it came with skepticism from hardcore Marvel fans and ignorant trolls. Wether it be her voluminous ‘fro, her hazel eye or the white circle replacing the black circle tattooed around it, Beetz’s take on the character is owned with power and confidence.
As one of the few woman of color featured in the film, Beetz’s presence doesn’t bring in the quota for Hollywood’s diversity checklist, but inspiration for female blerds and beyond. Domino, lucky in nature, is a perfect ally for Deadpool. As we see in the film, Beetz keeps him in line (no stereotypes needed) while kicking a** and taking names. Speaking to VIBE, Beetz made sure her take on Domino was one of a kind.
“I tried to just capture and think about what her essence is, what drives her, what doesn’t drive her, and where her comedy is,” she said. “[I thought] ‘Is she like Deadpool? Is she not like Deadpool? I just tried to puzzle it together by reaching in different directions for a soul that I thought would work for her.’
With no luck needed, the actress gained another well-rounded role under her belt. The 20-something’s budding career is filled with big wins: she’s gained fanfare as Van in Atlanta as well as Noelle in the seriously underrated Netflix series, Easy. The blend of action and comedy in Deadpool 2 and working with her Atlanta bredren Donald Glover has also given her the bandwidth to helm her own projects.
Below, Beetz shares Domino’s black girl magic, expanding her artistic limits and more.
VIBE: How did you mentally prepare for the role of Domino?
Zazie Beetz: I started out by just doing research on her background and where she came from. You know, just kinda delving into her stories, her comics and reading through various source materials. I tried to capture and think about what her essence is, what drives her, what doesn’t drive her and where her comedy is.
[I thought] ‘Is she like Deadpool? Is she not like Deadpool? I tried to puzzle it together by reaching in different directions for a soul that I thought would work for her. I think also within casting, maybe there was something in me that they wanted and knew I was able to fill in the blanks.
Domino’s power is essentially her luck, but what are some things that make you feel lucky?
I think having been able to work on a show like Atlanta. It’s a beautiful experience. It’s a show that lies close to my heart. The cast all came in at a similar time in our careers and we were all sort of rising together and supporting each other through that experience. That’s been a really cool thing to have each other for.
Also, I think a lot of it is a mindset. I decided that I’m going to let things happen as they happen and let things fall as they may. Within that space, I’ve worked and I have spent a lot of time in this process, but I’ve also been so lucky to have so many opportunities coming my way.
In terms of Deadpool 2, that probably wouldn’t have happened, hadn’t Atlanta happened.
So Deadpool 2 has also created this map of other opportunities to be involved in. I can create my own projects that I’m interested in because now, I’m an investable asset potentially [Laughs] and that’s a cool thing to discover. Being able to do things like this allows me to expand creatively as well. I’m also very aware that things change quickly in the industry, so I’m counting my blessings and being grateful. Hopefully, this career will last a long time. Hopefully, it’ll be a fun journey.
I think you’ll be just fine. Do you see yourself creating more projects for yourself in action film realm?
It depends on the project really. For a while, I was fixed upon doing one franchise at a time and not engaging in a lot of things at once. Your time gets eaten up relatively quickly and I would like to fill that remaining time with passion projects. There are franchises, and this is one of them. It’s a super special, global market project. It’s very different from everything else in the superhero genre.
It’s so aware of itself so it’s very interesting to have this voice of the audience. They’re very few times in film when the audience is addressed directly. It’s such a massive tool and I think that Deadpool plays around so much with the rules of what a blockbuster should be. That’s a unique thing to be a part of.
It’s truly great to be a part of something where someone has an emotional investment. This is a huge passion project for Ryan and that’s not always the case. I’m at a point where I’m thinking, ‘This is a project that I would want to see,’ or ‘This is a project I wouldn’t want to see,’ So it depends on what comes along really.
Throughout the movie, there were a lot of ’80s and ’90s music references. If you could pick your top ’80s/’90s jams, what would they be?
Oh man! Okay. Well, I can’t not have some Whitney. Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” is also great. You know who I liked? Sade! I was always listening to Sade. I also liked Biz Markie’s song, “Just A Friend.”
How does it feel to be a representation for little girls of color in the comic book world?
It’s beautiful being able to see it at Comic Con and events. Girls and women are dressing up as the Domino that we made and rocking their hair, being able to have a character they really look like. And you know, women who don’t look like me are even dressing as my version of Domino.
“It’s such a wonderful thing to see that women can find power in a character like this.”
I’ve been loving the art and inspiration that is coming from the character we all created together. I know that some people don’t necessarily respond or resonate with our interpretation because I’m not the classic comic book version, but I think that would happen off of any interpretation of anyone from anything that has a nostalgic story. It’s about creative license and I think it’s important to introduce different looking people where we can. I’m so excited. The universe is very homogeneous and I think it is okay to interpret the art with the introduction of new faces.
Catch ‘Deadpool 2’ in theaters everywhere.