The public first got to know the name Taye Diggs during his starring role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play Rent. Then, in the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), he played the man who won Angela Bassett's heart.
In his latest movie, The Wood, he plays Roland, a bridegroom suffering from wedding-day jitters, reports CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen. The film focuses on Roland's relationship with his two best friends (Omar Epps and Richard T. Jones) as flashbacks show how they grew up together in "The Wood," slang for the neighorhood of Inglewood, Calif.
"The bulk of the story takes place in the late '80s," says Diggs. "So, for me, that was a very rich time to remember. Reading the script, all the specific events I immediately related to and laughed, so I definitely had to be a part of it."
Although he became something of a matinee idol after his starring role in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Diggs got a lot of positive feedback from woman and men.
"More men were approaching me, telling me how they were able to hook up with this specific female becauseÂ…they saw the movie," says the actor.
But he says he was a nerd growing up, and only started to blossom after he transferred from public high school to a school for the performing arts.
"There, it wasn't about how big you were or how many teams you played on, but if you had talent," he says. "So luckily, people accepted me. I gainedÂ…a little confidence."
He was raised in Rochester, N.Y., and received a BFA degree in musical theater from Syracuse University. He made his show business debut in the ensemble cast of the Tony Award-winning revival of Carousel. He went on to join the cast of Rent in the role of Benny the landlord. The show quickly became an entertainment phenomenon that extended even beyond Broadway.
"Words can't even describe it," he says. "It has more of an effect after the fact, because while we were going through it, it's almost as if our senses were dulled. ButÂ…I'm still speechless. I feel very proud and, you know, I thank Jonathan Larson every time an opportunity presents itself to me. He basically provided a springboard for a lot of people."
Larson wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Rent, and died tragically of an aortic aneurysm only weeks before the show's opening night in 1996. He was just 10 days shy of his 36th birthday.
[To see the official Web site for The Wood, click here.]