By Lisa Petrillo

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Actor-singer-rapper Daveed Diggs simply exploded on the screen two years ago with his electrifying Tony-winning performance in the dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway smash “Hamilton!”

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Miranda and Diggs had been friends well before the play was written.

“I’m going to start this by saying I’m one of the select privileged few who saw you in Hamilton. Drop the mic! So what was that experience like for you?” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“It was life-changing and totally unexpected. My friend wrote a play and said, ‘Do you want to be in it?’  I was like, ‘Yes, for sure!’ And two years later everything is different,” Diggs said.

In his latest project, Diggs plays a teacher named Mr. Brown in “Wonder,” the heartwarming story of August Pullman.

Born with facial issues that up to now have prevented him from going to mainstream school, Auggie enters 5th grade while his family, new classmates and the community all struggle to find their acceptance. His journey makes him an unlikely hero.

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Owen Wilson plays Auggie’s dad and Julia Roberts is his mom.

“The thing that attracted me to him is I used to be a teacher and I’ve had several wonderful teachers in my life. I think getting to play this part of this teacher, who is very dedicated, because he knows it’s important, is very exciting. This character is an homage to all the great teachers,” Diggs said.

Diggs had no scenes with Roberts or Owens, but said it was the young star, 11-year-actor Jacob Tremblay, who knocked it out of the park.

“There’s this thing in a scene, you know, when you’re working with someone and they are better than you, and Jacob was always the best actor in scene. He’s so, so good and so giving and so talented,” Diggs said.

Diggs also said to bring some tissues to the theater because this movie tugs at your heartstrings.

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“The magic of this movie, I think, is it immediately puts you  back to the mindset you were when you were a kid and it eliminates all these walls that we learned how to put up  as adults that are blocking us from our emotions. That’s why I was in theater crying so much. This film does such an amazing job of putting you back in the place before you learned how not to cry,” he said.

Lisa Petrillo