Mahershala Ali Movies and TV Shows: Here’s What the ‘Blade’ Actor Has Appeared In
Many younger African-American actors (and actresses) have hit the Hollywood A-list over the last decade, many of which are some of the greatest thespians working today. While a few of the previous generation, like Denzel Washington, are still active and award-worthy, one of the best of the new wave is easily Mahershala Ali.
You likely heard he won the starring role in MCU’s Blade. While maybe some will lament he’s being brought into the Marvel fold after excelling in numerous indie and more thoughtful films, nobody can argue Blade won’t be just as meaningful. We clearly need more African-American superheroes beyond Black Panther.
If you still haven’t seen Ali in his prior movie/TV performances, here’s some of his best over the last ten years.
Mahershala Ali’s best earliest role: ‘Making Revolution’
This 2003 film was Ali’s film debut, and he had star billing, despite being virtually unknown. Making Revolution is about a group of college students who try to put together a world summit as a form of revolution to change the world for the better. As the media covers the event, things go a bit awry while proving it’s not so easy to enact change virtually overnight.
Ali was very memorable here playing Mac Laslow. It’s worth noting his acting name was known in full then as Mahershala Karim-Ali before dropping his middle name later.
It took another five years before he ended up on the big screen again, partly because Making Revolution only gained small audiences. During this time, he was already active doing guest shots on various TV shows. He started this two years earlier to kick off his acting career.
You could see him in everything from CSI to Law & Order: SVU then. In 2004, he found steady work as one of the main cast members of the USA sci-fi series The 4400.
Mahershala Ali has appeared in two ‘Hunger Games’ movies
After finding himself doing co-starring roles in movies like Benjamin Button and A Place Beyond the Pines, Ali found himself in one of the most popular movie franchises of the time. Playing Boggs in both The Hunger Games: Mockingjay movies put him out front as someone capable of just character acting.
One of the standards of the time was him playing primarily likable roles. Boggs was the only one from the President Coin side who had good intentions, in addition to being Katniss’ bodyguard. Of course, this cost Boggs his life.
Some of you probably remember the last scene of Ali’s Boggs telling Katniss to complete her mission and not trust the Coin regime.
Ali expanded on this idea of being a baddie with a conscience to TV not long after.
Mahershala Ali was a regular on ‘House of Cards’
Before Ali found himself as an Oscar-caliber actor, he landed the role of Remy Danton on House of Cards as Pres. Underwood’s press secretary.
His role covered all the bases in exploring how those who work in D.C. often cross the line of ethics. Thankfully, the Danton character bows out of politics due to the massive corruption he becomes enveloped in.
By the time Ali left this role in 2016, he was on the cusp of superstardom with his signature Oscar-winning roles. As he wrapped up House of Cards, a little film called Moonlight was being released.
‘Moonlight’ and ‘Green Book’ were career turning points
Everyone remembers the celebrated night of the 2017 Oscars when Moonlight won Best Picture after a mistake was made announcing La La Land first.
Talk about vindication for a film of that ilk within five minutes of chaos. Ali winning Best Supporting Actor also changed his life forever playing Juan, the drug dealer who becomes a father figure to the lead, Chiron.
Playing jazz legend Don Shirley in Oscar Best Picture winner Green Book two years later proved Ali’s stature as one of America’s most insightful acting talents.
Let’s just hope being sucked into the MCU universe as Blade won’t take him away from doing films that made him a star. If there’s any flaw in Marvel, it’s in luring away top actors from the films they should be doing by way of a bigger paycheck.