Rafael Casal has made certainly come a long way since meeting Daveed Diggs at a poetry club in high school. The actor, writer, producer, musician, and showrunner, who is proud of his Bay Area roots, first burst onto the entertainment scene during the first three seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, quickly transformed his love of performance art into the BARS workshop at The Public Theater in New York which he co-founded.
In 2018, Casal and Diggs co-wrote and produced Blindspotting which they had been working on for 10 years to rave reviews. The film currently sits at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is an intimate look at their hometown of Oakland and the impact gentrification has had in that town and the television show it’s based on uses that as a jumping off point. Casal has recently been seen in HBO’s Bad Education, Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird, and the second season of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? He is set to make his directorial debut in First Sight, which is described as a sci-fi romantic comedy.
Casal and Diggs are both behind the television adaptation of Blindspotting, which is set to premiere on Starz on June 13, 2021 and tells the story of their neighborhood from the female perspective. We were lucky enough to chat with Casal about the show coming to Starz, the journey they took making it, filming during COVID, and watching movies on his lawn with Helen Hunt.