Delroy Lindo on Reconciling and Reconnecting

Apr 22, 2021 | Articles

Photo by Paola Kudacki for GQ

Monique Jones | Shadow and Act

Da 5 Bloods actor Delroy Lindo opens up to GQ for its May issue, revealing how he feels about his reputation and working with Spike Lee again.

Lindo talked to GQ contributor Mosi Secret about gaining a reputation as an actor typecast in tough-guy roles, despite Lindo’s talents ranging far beyond playing in staid action films. The article points out that in 1991, Lindo got his start in Lee’s Malcolm X and was able to show audiences he could play complex roles. However, Lindo’s tough-guy persona on film was beginning to cloud his real life, when he started being seen as someone who was quick to argue with filmmakers about projects.

“There were a couple of projects that I worked on many years ago where the scripts in question needed some work,” he said. “And the manner in which I communicated that to the producer—and he agreed, by the way—was not as diplomatic as it could have been. And when one, as I was in this particular case, is being paid a lot of money to be in a project, to come to the producer and express dissatisfaction with the material, that can be seen as an affront.”

The move led Lindo’s career even further off the path, especially when Lee stopped offering him roles in his films. Lindo said nothing happened between the two of them to lead Lee to stop casting him in his films, but Lindo acknowledges that his own mistakes probably led Lee and other directors to start seeing him in a different light.

“That period had to do with these various missteps that I made, which resulted in perhaps being seen as less viable as a film actor, less desirable,” he said. “You know: ‘We’re not going to go with that guy. We’ll go with this guy.’ And was that frustrating and painful? Absolutely. I was playing catch-up.”

Da 5 Bloods is Lindo’s first film with Lee in 25 years, but thankfully, the film seems to have brought Lindo back into the public consciousness as a well-rounded and capable actor, not just one who has been unfairly typecast throughout his career.

“I’m in a little bit of an excruciating fucking circumstance,” he said about redefining his career. “But I’m still believing in myself, man. I am. I’m not being defined by my circumstances.”