“I don’t like having too much down time,” says Corey Hawkins. Lucky for him, the 28-year-old has had very little of it recently. In less than a year he’s gone from starring in the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island to landing the lead in Fox’s reboot of 24 to headlining the new Broadway revival of Six Degrees of Separation, a modern classic (and the progenitor of the parlor game that links every actor ever to Kevin Bacon).
John Guare’s Pulitzer-nominated script traces the real-life story of Paul, an erudite gay con artist (Hawkins) who talks himself into the tony lives of New York City’s upper crust by telling them he’s the son of Sidney Poitier. “To me, he’s not an impostor,” says Hawkins. “I think he’s a dreamer, the kind of guy that can imagine himself in so many different ways. It’s all about how you choose to see other people, and being seen for who you think you are.”
The themes of the play, which originally opened in 1990, feel freshly relevant thanks to Moonlight’s exploration of blackness, masculinity, and sexuality and to our increasingly performative existence. “We live in this age of faux interconnectivity,” Hawkins says. “Do we really take the time to find out who people are and live in the experience? Social media is sort of a facade where people choose to show the best side of themselves, but we don’t get the choice to accept the ugly side.” One thing’s for sure: Whatever side of himself Hawkins chooses to show us in the near future, it’ll be worth watching.
Like what you see here? Subscribe and be the first to receive the latest issue of Out. Subscribe to print here and receive a complimentary digital subscription.