Witnessing huge movie stars today, it’s hard to believe that they had a whole career before they made it big — and when I say “career,” I mean countless hours of unrecognized work, let downs and supporting roles TO the supporting roles.
Mahershala Ali is a prime example. It’s only been three years since his breakout role as Juan in Moonlight, which earned him his first Academy Award. Since 2016, Ali has starred in an acclaimed TV series (True Detective), lent his voice to a celebrated animation (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), and snagged another Academy Award for Green Book.
But before all this, Ali was paying his dues in lesser known T.V. and movie roles. One of his first feature film roles was none other than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008. He played Mr. “Tizzy” Weathers, the love interest to Queenie (played by Taraji P. Henson). Though Ms. Taraji went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for her role, Ali remained less known for the most part, although he did have a slightly-hilarious scene when his character first encountered the backwards baby Benjamin Buttton.
Over the years, Ali slowly built his name thanks to significant supporting roles in shows like Treme and movies like The Hunger Games and The Place Beyond the Pines. Before Moonlight popped off, his most memorable role probably came when he played villain Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in Netflix’s Luke Cage.
So yes, the man has been working.
This WHOLE time, he was in Benjamin Button.
Who knew watching the flick back in 2008 that Ali would become a huge star. Hopefully, this is only the beginning.