TODAY'S PAPER

‘Hamilton’ star Daveed Diggs talks new movie ‘Wonder’

"Hamilton" alum Daveed Diggs plays Mr. Browne in "Wonder." / Dale Robinette

At a time when the divisions in our country are almost palpable, “Wonder,” out Friday, feels like a much-needed comfort.

The film (adapted from R.J. Palacio’s 2012 novel of the same name) is about August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a brave boy born with facial differences.

As if fifth grade isn’t hard enough, Auggie enters unfamiliar territory when he leaves his home-school routine in an effort to socialize with people his age.

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What Auggie discovers is that he stands out, not only because of his outside appearance but also for his unwavering spirit.

amNewYork spoke with “Hamilton” star and triple threat Daveed Diggs, who plays Mr. Browne, Auggie’s teacher, in the film.

Did your success on Broadway with the blockbuster “Hamilton” give you the traction to pursue specific opportunities?

Definitely. All of a sudden I was having meetings with people who I’ve auditioned for before but never heard back from. It felt certainly different in Los Angeles, because I had lived there before and now I was being escorted into buildings where before I wasn’t allowed to park. It’s been a blessing.

“Wonder” is such a heartwarming film with a positive message and I think, at a time when our country is so divided, a story like this is just what we need to feel some semblance of unity.

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We are in a time where we are shown a lot of [people] choosing hate. It’s intense. I think one of the things that’s nice about this film is that it’s presenting a successful alternative. The community is undoubtedly better as we watch people choose kind repeatedly. It feels honest, and it’s nice to see kindness be powerful since we are so often seeing people of power be deplorable.

How did you get involved in the Wonder Certified Kind program?

They asked and I said absolutely. It’s about being able to find ways to spread the message of this book that doesn’t feel preachy. It’s nice to interact with students a little bit and help create a platform to celebrate kindness that, as you said, in these times feels very important. I’ve learned that being kind costs very little.

How was it standing next to Chewbacca in that one scene?

Pretty amazing. That day was a trip. I didn’t know it was actually going to happen. I assumed it was going to be some guy in a green suit but no that was actually Chewie, standing there doing multiple takes. It was just me and Chewie, at work, trying to nail the right tone for that scene. [laughs]

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