In television, film, theater, writing, and producing, DeWanda Wise has established herself as one of the industry’s most exciting talents. In the Netflix adaption of “She’s Gotta Have It,” created by Spike Lee, Wise appears as the iconic ‘Nola Darling.’ Based on Lee’s 1986 film of the same name, the series explores the story of one woman (Wise) and her three lovers. Following its season one release in November 2017, the series acquired great critical acclaim, and as a result, won an African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) award as one of the “Top 10 Television Shows.” The Hollywood Reporter calls her work “superb,” while Deadline exclaimed, “With a star revealing herself before us, Underground alum Wise hits nothing but high notes.” Other critics describe her performance as “fiery,” “complex,” “brilliant,” and “moving.”
Other television credits include CBS All Access “The Twilight Zone,” FOX’s drama “Shots Fired,” WGN’s “Underground,” HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” and “The Good Wife.”
In film, Wise can be seen in Director Stella Meghie’s Toronto International Film Festival selection “The Weekend,” opposite Sasheer Zamata and Tone Bell, in addition to the Netflix Original romantic-comedy film, “Someone Great,” starring opposite Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, Lakeith Stanfield and Rosario Dawson.
Additional film credits include the Sundance romantic-comedy hit, “How to Tell You’re a Douchebag,” in which Wise starred in and executive produced. She began her professional career with roles in many award-winning shorts and independent features including “Spinning into Butter” and “Precious” among others.
In 2016, Wise expanded her talents into screenwriting and wrote the short film entitled, “Where You Go,” which premiered at Cannes in the “Short Film Corner.”
Stage credits include Atlantic Theater Company’s “Fireflies,” by Donja R. Love, a performance universally acclaimed. Sara Holdren at Vulture states:
“Wise’s smoldering, taut-as-a-bowstring Olivia is almost part animal. It’s an electrically charged performance, the kind that you imagine an actor passing out after. Wise has extraordinary bright hazel eyes, cat-like in their intensity: They’re the eyes of a domestic creature that should have been wild, a creature that’s never at rest, whose small body contains a whole history of life before walls, before cages, before dependence.”
Previous stage credits include a host of theater roles, notably originating the role of ‘Nina’ in acclaimed playwright Dominique Morisseau’s “Sunset Baby.” Ben Brantley of The New York Times stated,”…it’s the woman who’s the toughest of them all. Ms. Wise, a beauty, makes us see and feel just how ugly Nina is…she also insists we understand why.” The Village Voice called her Nina, “commanding and severe,” while The New Yorker described her performance as “Brutal and riveting.” Other praised performances include her work as Susan in the west coast premiere of David Mamet’s “Race” with Center Theater Group, Mercy in “Flight,” at City Theatre, and Abigail, a Zimbabwean wife grappling with an HIV diagnosis, in Danai Gurira’s heartbreaking first play, “In the Continuum” at Playmakers, Chapel Hill.
Wise graduated with honors with a dual degree in Drama and Urban Social and Cultural Analysis with a minor in Community-based Theater and Performance. She is a Tisch Scholar Award recipient, the Atlantic Achievement in Studio Award recipient, and the BFA Representative of her graduating class of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
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