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Jonathan Majors On Defying Masculinity Norms: “I’m Not Supposed To Cry”

The superstar shared his truth as part of an actor’s roundtable chat.

The most recent actor’s roundtable presented by The Hollywood Reporter found its guests discussing fears, showcasing vulnerability, and their sense of responsibility when wielding guns on movie sets.

But for rising superstar Jonathan Majors, he shared a direct correlation to why he prepares for the roles he does and how acting is like therapy for him. Writer Rebecca Keagan made a connection with performers Nicolas Cage (Pig), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tike … Boom!), Simon Rex (Red Rocket), and Majors (The Harder They Fall) for THR’s annual sit-down.

It was there where improbable connections were made, and a perfect opportunity for Majors — who's next few years find him joining the MCU and fighting Michael B. Jordan — to offer up never-before-told moments about his recent project, the Jeymes Samuel-directed Netflix Western.

Majors, who joined an all-star cast including Idris Elba, Regina King, and Delroy Lindo, highlighted that as Nat Love, it was one of the first times he didn’t have to audition for a role. But, he decided to send the director of The Harder They Fall some poems, which would be a bit odd and surprising when going out for a role. 

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“For me, the process of winning a role is me showing you my take on the character,” he said. “I felt that I needed to express to him [Samuel} my take on the character, and so I wrote two poems. One was essentially the rage of Nat Love, and then one was the loss of Nat Love. It was to show him, ‘This is what I’m going to do, given the opportunity. I needed him to see me and show him that vulnerability.”

That vulnerability was highlighted during multiple moments in the film. And it was picked up by the room, who all chimed in with their own thoughts about how masculinity is portrayed in today’s cinematic experience. But Majors zeroed in on how the masculinity question can cut young boys off from their own full expression.

“I’m a Black man from Dallas, Texas,” he said. “My voice is supposed to be (in a low voice) way down here. I’m not supposed to sing. I’m not supposed to cry, all these things.”

“Singing, to me, represents you’ve actually gone to a place where you can no longer say it. Something has transcended this place of conversation … and now we’re here, and we’ve got to sing it.”

Majors, who left Yale School of Drama six years ago, has begun to understand that he is in a rarefied space and doesn’t shy away from the growth opportunities his acting journey can help to flourish.

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“The projects I’ve done felt very, in my own way, avant-garde, insofar that to lead a sci-fi drama on HBO as a young Black man is not commonplace. To do a Black Western is still not commonplace. I’m very grateful, but there’s only one of me. I’m looking forward to the time where I can be doing that and a young Latinx gentleman [or] a trans actor can be doing this — just making more space so we all can coexist.”

Up next for the 32-year-old is Creed III, which has begun filming, and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.

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