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Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is stepping out with his biggest film yet as the villainous Black Manta in Aquaman.

For the 32-year-old New Orleans actor, whose credits also include Dwayne Johnson’s Baywatch, Netflix’s The Get Down and Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman, a key to finding his footing in Hollywood goes back to a community of black actors he met while studying at Yale. That roster of rising stars includes Black Panther actor Winston Duke, who helped Mateen move into his Yale apartment.

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