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Mahershala Ali talks the terrifying act of playing his own clone in ‘Swan Song’

“I think I’m always, as an actor, looking for the thing that excites me and challenges me,” he said on "Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist" this week.

Mahershala Ali is one determined actor.

During a recent appearance on “Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist,” Ali recalled what it was like to play his clone in his latest film, "Swan Song."

After growing up with his mom in the Bay-area city of Hayward, California, Ali admitted that he takes his acting very seriously.

“I’m a little stubborn, I will admit,” he told Geist. “Then, let’s call it ‘persistence.’ ... I’ve just been, along the way, really focusing on tryin’ to get to this place.”

When asked if it was hard for him to act alongside himself in his latest film, Ali said that he didn't think about it much because he welcomed the challenge with open arms.

Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali talks about what it was like to play his own clone in "Sawn Song" during an appearance on "Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist."NBC / NBC

"I think I’m always, as an actor, looking for the thing that — that excites me and challenges me," he said. "But I’ve found pretty consistently that tied to that is a part of it that terrifies me."

"And when I feel both things I — really sorta know I’m in the right place," Ali continued.

In "Swan Song," Ali plays a father who tries to clone himself after he finds out that he's terminally ill. In order to spare his family the heartache of losing him, Ali's character, Cameron, does everything he can to keep his death a secret.

As a producer in the film, Ali explained that he knew that it would be flawless to film scenes as his clone after he shot one scene in particular with a dog.

"There’s a little moment where I come down — where we come down the stairs. You see the dog come in and look at us... he sees both of us," Ali said. "And it was very clear to me that, 'Oh, this is gonna work.'"

However, the "Moonlight" actor noted that he doesn't think that he could do what Cameron did in real life.

Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali looks sternly at his clone in 2021's "Swan Song."Apple TV / Apple TV

"I don’t know.  I wrestle with that, you know?" he said. "But I guess for myself... I would just lean towards the natural order of things."

"If anything, I’ve taken from the film... I’m just reminded to be really present with my family, and friends... because, you know, I can’t just print another one of me yet," Ali laughed.