Once he decided to act he never worked a “civilian” job to get by. “After I graduated from NYU there was a period of about three months where nothing much was going on and then I got my first job. It was ‘Twelfth Night’ with Helen Hunt and Paul Rudd. It was a very small role, but it was a Broadway show,” says Sunjata, who’s wearing denims, a gray T-shirt and a hoodie.
There was a period of five months when Sunjata’s dad helped with the rent so he could concentrate on auditions. “After that, it was like every time I really needed a job the universe would send one to me somehow. I know there’s a lot of incredibly talented people who don’t work ... there’s a lot of incredibly beautiful people who don’t work … I don’t know what to attribute it to. I had excellent training at NYU, very motivated, had a lot of desire. But there are a lot of aspiring actors out there who had all the same things, and it just never fell together for them. So I have to call it grace.”
He finds grace in other facets of his life. “Even though we can’t factor and compute the force behind events that seem completely random and totally meaningless, does that necessarily mean there is no higher power?,” he says.
“I find that hard to believe because I see evidence of a higher power everywhere I look,” says Sunjata, whose full name is Daniel Sunjata Condon. The name Sunjata comes from the founder of Mali.
“I’m paraphrasing somebody else’s brilliant quote,” he continues, “but I tend to believe we’re spiritual beings that have human experiences, not human beings that have occasional spiritual experiences.”