Daveed Diggs shot to fame after the Bay-area rapper was cast in Broadway’s blockbuster hit Hamilton as Alexander Hamilton’s nemesis, Thomas Jefferson, a role for which he won a Tony. Since then, he’s appeared in numerous TV shows, and in 2018, Blindspotting, his first feature film — which he co-wrote and co-starred in with Rafael Casal — premiered.
Now, Diggs is the star of Snowpiercer, TNT’s new sci-fi series (premieres Sunday, May 17th) about a 1,001-car-long train that holds the last remnants of humanity after the world plunges into a man-made ice age. Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-Ho adapted the original 1982 French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige, into a 2013 cult-hit movie starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. In this new version of the tale — in which Diggs plays Andre Layton, a member of Snowpiercer’s underclass known as the “Tailies” — he’s trying to solve a murder further up the train until he comes into conflict with Head of Hospitality Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly).
For our latest The First Time video series, Diggs shared memories of life in Oakland, California, including spending his Tuesdays at the iconic Amoeba records and how he was starstruck seeing his hero, Gift of Gab from the group Blackalicious.
The original Transformers animated movie was the first film he fell in love with, but he also has fond memories of the animated Disney classic, The Little Mermaid. But it’s MC Hammer that has left the biggest impression. “I’m an Eighties baby from Oakland,” he says, explaining that he met the rapper when he came to see Hamilton and that they still stay in touch. “And he was so international, so big.…”