Actor Delroy Lindo Reveals How His ‘Tough Guy’ Persona Nearly Ended His Career, Spike Lee Stopped Offering Him Roles

Actor Delroy Lindo has appeared in over three dozen films throughout his career. Recently the British star sat down with GQ magazine for their May issue to talk about his reputation in the entertainment industry and how creative differences nearly ended everything he had worked for. 

While talking on Zoom with GQ contributor Mosi Secret, the 68-year-old revealed how he became known as someone who was quick to argue with directors despite his talent and range. Lindo made his debut in the early 1990s and seemingly became a regular in projects created by legendary director Spike Lee, including the 1991 film “Malcolm X” and 1994’s “Crooklyn.”

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 12: Delroy Lindo of “The Good Fight” speaks during the CBS All Access segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 12, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

However, just as he grew in popularity, he’d soon fade into the background after walking away from the 1996 film co-produced by Lee about the Million Man March, “Get on the Bus,” after deciding the script was unworkable.

The actor said there was no fallout between him and Lee, but the Academy Award winner stopped offering him gigs. He had soon earned the reputation of the “tough guy” in Hollywood. From there the star’s career stalled, limited to guest appearances here and there and lackluster roles in made-for-TV films. 

“That period had to do with these various missteps that I made,” Lindo admitted to the magazine, “which resulted in perhaps being seen as less viable as a film actor, less desirable. You know: ‘We’re not going to go with that guy. We’ll go with this guy.’ And was that frustrating and painful? Absolutely. I was playing catch-up.”

Some 25 years later Lindo and Lee reconnected for the Netflix movie about four veterans who return to Vietnam in search of their fallen squad leader and a gold fortune in the drama film “Da 5 Bloods.” Prior to their reunion, Lindo had been playing attorney Adrian Boseman on the CBS series “The Good Fight.” Still, he says his character Paul “unlocked something inside him” and sent him on the path he had been yearning for. 

Last fall, the actor wrapped up filming for the new Netflix project, “The Harder They Fall,” an all-Black Western produced by Jay-Z and co-starring Idris Elba and Jonathan Majors. Lindo plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves.

Looking back on being typecast and redefining his career, Lindo told the outlet, “I’m in a little bit of an excruciating f- -king circumstance.” He added, “But I’m still believing in myself, man. I am. I’m not being defined by my circumstances.”

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