Give Yahya Abdul-Mateen II A Rom-Com Already, You Cowards

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
Emmy-winner and certified heartthrob Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has played a number of unique roles throughout his time in Hollywood; he's faced off against the god of the sea (Aquaman), played a disco king (The Get Down), and even gave us full-frontal while saving the world from a white supremacist organization (Watchmen). But even with all these critically-acclaimed roles under his belt, there's one part that he hasn't booked yet and is eager to bring to life: the swoon-worthy leading man in a super-romantic love story.
Essence Magazine's July/August cover star mused over his meteoric rise in conversation with the outlet, sharing his gratitude for the constant support from his passionate fans. Every role that Abdul-Mateen II has played has been special to him, but his favorite gigs are the ones that give him the opportunity to be as grounded as he is nuanced. Watchmen, for instance, complicated Cal Abar by binding his identity into that of the secret identity of the legendary Dr. Manhattan, but at the core, the character was just someone in love.
“It was nice to just be a dude who was deeply in love and would do anything to protect that love," Abdul-Mateen II told Essence of the role of Cal/Dr. Manhattan. "There were still magical elements to it — but to get to star opposite Regina [King], and to flirt and dance and protect and be a husband, I was really craving that. My heart was craving that. My artistry was craving the chance to just be simple.”
Ironically, upcoming projects will only see Abdul-Mateen II getting even more complicated; he's set to lead huge titles like Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom, Nia DaCosta's modern Candyman remake, and the next chapter of The Matrix. Though he's grateful for the chance to kick ass and take names in these roles, there's also a part of the actor that is longing for the chance to be a bit softer onscreen. The secret's out: your boyfriend-in-your-head is just as much of a hopeless romantic as you are.
“We need more romance,” Abdul-Mateen II stressed. “We have adventure. We have action. We’ve got a lot of stories about trauma, because trauma is very present in our world right now. But we also need love."
"We need more straight-up, old-school romance," he continued. "I don’t mind putting my hand up and stepping into that place to say, ‘I’ll be your man, girl.’ I don’t mind that at all.”
Watchmen gave us a bit of romance —almost two years later, I've yet to recover from Cal and Angela's soft moments in the HBO limited series — but Abdul-Mateen II hasn't been given the opportunity to step into his obvious potential to woo literally anyone as the lead of a romantic story. It goes without saying that any project that casts him will be a success, but a rom-com or romantic drama starring Abdul-Mateen II? The plot of the film wouldn't matter; it's already my favorite movie of all time, and it doesn't even exist yet.
I hope someone in Hollywood is paying attention and has gotten to work on a screenplay that will see Abdul-Mateen II tapping into his inner romantic. Meet-cutes, flirting, dates montages , love scenes, a tearful "will they, won't they?" — I'm going to need to see all of that, and expeditiously. For us, of course, but mostly for him. It's what Yahya deserves.

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