There were times during the filming of Da 5 bloods when actors who weren’t in a scene watched others and absorbed the impact of their work. Jonathan Majors, the youngest of the leaders, has an appreciation for Lindo which is poetic. “It’s a tiger,” he told me, “and I’m the youngest tiger watching this mature tiger move and how effortless it is. Where I would be a little more athletic, it is graceful.
Clarke Peters recalls noticing that Lindo was deep in thought in moments of downtime, presumably repeating her next performance in her head. Norm Lewis had a feeling that something special was going on: “I said it once, and he said, ‘Don’t say nothing, say nothing.’ But I’m like, “This is her Oscar moment. Whether nominated or winner, this is his Oscar film. ” “
Lindo and I met before the Oscar nominations were announced and after being snubbed by the Golden Globes; he declined to answer questions about the awards. It wouldn’t be his year. But he still has a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. “We did this as blacks” he told me. Da 5 Bloods. “We introduced these brothers, man. We have paid a fitting tribute to these cats, in their humanity. That’s why I wanted to become an actor.
There is a battle scene in Da 5 Bloods, a flashback to the war, in which the soldiers’ helicopter makes a hard landing after being shot down from the sky. The plane lands near a downed plane containing gold bars that the Bloods had set out to recover. On set, Lindo watched Lee lead the stage as Lewis, Peters, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. ran through the brush, heading for the loot. “It was so heroic watching these cats,” says Lindo. “Usually we can’t do that. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I told them, “ This scene was amazing for me to witness, as an actor, as a castmate, but also as a man and as a black man, to watch my classmates tell this story on film. ” “
A similar scene from the filming of The harder they fall, in Santa Fe, stayed with Lindo, a moment between takes when he found himself on the side of the board. “I watched these three brothers on horseback,” he recalls. “Two of the actors were background actors and one was a central figure. And I was just watching them, these three guys. They were just talking. And I said to myself: “This image”. I took a picture and sent it to my lady. I said, ‘We don’t see it. We don’t see these kinds of images of us. “
It was a new take on Hollywood, a scene that filled Lindo with hope. “I don’t say that very often,” he tells me. “I am in fact – can I use the word excited? I’ve been around the neighborhood too many times to say I’m excited. But I am.”
Mosi’s Secret is a writer in New York.
A version of this story originally appeared in the May 2021 issue with the headline “Delroy Lindo’s Long, Sometimes Dark and Eventually Triumphant Career.”
Photographs by Paola Kudacki
Conceived by Mobolaji dawodu
Grooming by Natalie Young