Common continues to earn stripes in Hollywood.

After starring alongside Oscar-winning actors like Denzel Washington (American Gangster) and Angelina Jolie (Wanted) in the earlier parts of his acting career, Com landed a lead role in the romantic comedy, Just Wright, last year. Now, the rapper-turned-actor is coming to the small screen, playing a free slave on AMC's new series, Hells on Wheels.

"This TV series is some of the best creative work that I've ever done in my life," Common told XXLMag.com. "For me to be able to do a period piece, but it's really dealing with shit that we go through today. And to play a free slave, who's a rebel. I wanted that role because when I read it, I've never seen a black person depicted this way from that time, somebody with this much strength, and showing intelligence, making moves and also not just beat down and oppressed the whole time."

Common was one of several actors considered for the part of Elam.

"I had to audition for it," he shared. "I mean, they had an eye for me, but I had to audition. I auditioned three times and I got the role. I was real charged about it."

Hells on Wheels starring Common premieres November 6 at 10 p.m. on AMC.—Carl Chery (@cchery)