“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” explains actor Delroy Lindo about trying to understand the depths of anger, trauma and pain underlying his character Paul in “Da 5 Bloods.” Paul is a veteran of the Vietnam War returning to Asia with his fellow soldiers later in life to complete some unfinished business. Watch our exclusive video interview with Lindo above.
“I remember the first time that I read the script, Paul was described as having a short fuse, being right on the edge, and one can feel that he could blow up at any time,” Lindo adds about his character. “It would’ve been completely uninteresting and unengaging to just play an angry man … Anybody who’s enraged is enraged for a reason. So my job I knew was to investigate what the bases of those various things were.”
He recognized that this was “a huge, classical part” like a role from William Shakespeare or August Wilson. So getting into character was a “step by step” process. “One of the first steps, once I knew I was doing the project, was to try to find as many vets as I could who had experience with PTSD … The first two people that I spoke with were two of my cousins who are Vietnam vets … They were immense in terms of the information they shared with me … It wasn’t just what they were saying, it was how they were saying it.”
From that he learned how differently soldiers could be shaped by the war. And while some might view Paul’s emotional scars as madness, Lindo was struck by the “clarity” he achieves. “Despite everything that’s happened to me, I’m still here. And the fact that I’m right here means I’m present enough to do whatever I have to do.” Sometimes that kind of clarity can be as dangerous as madness.
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