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Common has been killing the acting game over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down.

We caught up with the Oscar winning star at the New York City red carpet premiere of Megan Leavey, which tells the true story of the title character and her relationship with her U.S. Marine combat service dog in the Iraq war. Common, who plays Gunnery Sergeant Massey, revealed that he fell in love with the script because he “saw it as a love story. But not your typical ‘woman falls for a man’ type of story. It’s a love story between a woman and her dog, like we’ve never seen before.”

As for the dogs, the Chicago native admitted, “I can’t lie, I wasn’t really into dogs before I signed on to do the film. But after working on-set and meeting Megan and all that, I got to love them. I love what people are doing with the animal shelters around the country, with like the PAWS shelter in Chicago, which is a no-kill shelter.”

Not only does Common have a newfound respect for dogs, but he’s also grown to appreciate women and military soldiers more than he already did. The rapper added that with all the canine preparation, he also spent a lot of time with Marines, saying, “A good friend of mine from Chicago, who is a marine, helped me understand that to be a Marine is to become unified to best serve our country and your fellow soldiers.”

We asked Common about the importance of women, especially women of color, sharing stories that we don’t usually get to see in Hollywood. He answered, “I think it’s important for women, Black women, young people, gay people to tell a story that’s unique to them, that no one has ever heard before — focus on that. We’ve seen some of the same stories play out about Black people for years, but things are changing. Look at movies like Moonlight, the theme is so universal that any color can relate to it. Look at Issa Rae with Insecure, Donald Glover with Atlanta, and even though Chewing Gum is a British show, that girl created it, wrote and directed it herself. We need more of that — but it’s getting better.”

Catch Megan Leavey in theaters this Friday, June 9, and bring your tissues.

Exclusive: Common Opens Up About His Role In ‘Megan Leavey,’ Telling More Diverse Black Stories In Hollywood & More  was originally published on