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Evil's Mike Colter is Paul Giamatti in a leading man's body

The actor behind Marvel's Luke Cage discusses season 2 of his Paramount Plus show Evil, on CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast.

Mike Colter Paramount Plus Evil Luke Cage

In the series Evil, Mike Colter plays David Acosta, a priest in training who investigates miracles and demons. The show's second season is on Paramount Plus, with new episodes available to stream on Sundays.

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS
This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

On the Netflix series Marvel's Luke Cage, actor Mike Colter played a bulletproof superhero who was Black. The show, expertly overseen by Cheo Hodari Coker, took Cage and his unbreakable skin off of the pages of the 1972 comic book and planted him inside the nucleus of a vividly rendered Harlem. The show gracefully reflected the cultural and societal complexities of our world while being accented by infectious music and perfectly good hoodies getting riddled with bullets like Swiss cheese. Marvel's Luke Cage ran for two seasons between 2016 and 2018. Its cancellation left an inevitable third act hanging in the wings and didn't give fans the closure they sought.

Ahead of an interview with Colter for CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, I rewatched Luke Cage and was amazed by how it felt more relevant against the backdrop of a post-Trump, post-Avengers: Endgame pandemic world. Colter moved on from playing a superpowered Marvel defender to playing David Acosta, a Catholic priest in training who investigates miracles and demons, in the Paramount Plus series Evil. The show follows Acosta, Dr. Kristen Bouchard, a psychologist played by Katja Herbers, and Ben Shakir, a carpenter played by Aasif Mandvi, as they investigate a number of unsolved mysteries tied to the church. The show has echoes of the X-Files while exploring the relationship between science and faith.

"When I fantasized about what I wanted to do in terms of acting, I never thought about acting in things that were reflective of the real world so much. I wasn't thinking in terms of the experiences I had as a Black man or Black boy in South Carolina," said Colter during our interview. "When I thought about Evil, I was like, 'Priests, Catholic exorcisms!' It just made sense to me. I was looking for something different from Luke Cage, and this was right up my alley."

Evil originated on CBS in 2019, but the show moved to Paramount Plus for its second season, which allows it to be darker and explore the characters more deeply. One of the show's appeals is the chemistry between Colter and Herbers. Their characters approach investigations from completely different worlds. But it's their sometimes obvious and sometimes quiet tension that enriches Evil.

Colter credits the chemistry with Herbers to luck and excellent casting. While working on the show, the two developed a good friendship that's filled with humor. Colter explained the on-set dynamic and how Herbers and Manvi give him a hard time for being a leading man type. Colter said he plays it up, pretending to be offended in order to get under their skin.

"What you don't realize is I'm a character actor inside of a leading man's body. I'm struggling, stuck inside of this body. I am a character actor waiting to get out. I am Paul Giamatti," joked Colter.

Mike Colter Paramount Plus Evil Luke Cage

From left to right, Katja Herbers, Mike Colter and Aasif Mandvi in the Paramount Plus series Evil.

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

But the truth is, Colter wants the roles he plays to be different from one another. You can listen to my entire conversation with him in the podcast player above or on Apple Podcasts. Colter discusses being a father, his relationship with Coker during Marvel's Luke Cage and his favorite member of Wu-Tang Clan. Colter and I also discuss our time as undergrads and theater majors at the University of South Carolina.

I'm So Obsessed is nominated for two Podcast Awards in the categories of TV & Film and People's Choice. You can vote for us between now and the end of July on the Podcast Awards websiteWatch new episodes of Evil on Sundays on Paramount Plus. Subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.