Marvel Studios presents “Black Panther,” the story of T’Challa, a young African prince who takes on the mantle of King and Super Hero, and the centuries’ old legacy that comes with it.
Long known for its revolutionary creative vision, Marvel Comics has introduced its audiences to a diverse roster of Super Heroes since 1939, most notably with the groundbreaking Black Panther character that made its first appearance in “Fantastic Four Vol. 1” Issue 52, published in 1966.
“Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Get on Up”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “12 Years a Slave”), Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead,” “All Eyez on Me”), Martin Freeman (“Hobbit” trilogy, “Sherlock”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out,” “Sicario”), Letitia Wright (“Urban Hymn,” “Glasgow Girls”), Winston Duke (“Person of Interest, “Modern Family”), with Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett (“American Horror Story,” “London Has Fallen”),with Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”), and Andy Serkis (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).
Ryan Coogler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) directs from a screenplay he wrote with Joe Robert Cole (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”). Kevin Feige is producer with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.
During a recent press conference at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles, we had the pleasure of hearing from the Cast and filmmakers on how this movie is different than other Marvel Universe films.
In attendance at the press conference was: Chadwick Boseman “T’Challa / Black Panther”, Michael B. Jordan “Killmonger”, Letitia Wright “Shuri”, Lupita Nyong’o “Nakia”, Danai Gurira “Okoye”, Martin Freeman “Everett K Ross”, Daniel Kaluuya “W’Kabi”, Winston Duke “M’Baku”, Angela Bassett “Ramonda”, Forest Whitaker “Zuri”, Andy Serkis “Ulysses Klaue”, Ryan Coogler / Director & Kevin Feige / Producer.
Q: This movie has been trying to be made for so long. We don’t believe in coincidences, so even though some people would have seen it gotten made a lot time ago, this was the time for this movie to be made, with this cast, with this director – right here. You did something special, Ryan. What did you think?
A: RYAN COOGLER: Oh, man, I felt – I just felt incredibly blessed, you know, to have had the opportunity to make the film this way, to make the film with this studio, you know, working with Kevin and his team – Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, and Nate Moore, who Chadwick was just talking about – has been like – which is an incredible opportunity. And it’s not something I ever imagined, you know, would happen. And it’s good to work with my mentor, and these people who I’ve watched, you know, for my whole life, and some friends that I’ve made through this process.
Q: Giving props to the ladies of Wakanda. But how proud of you all were – to see yourselves up, being so powerful, and so beautiful, and so regal on that screen?
A: ANGELA BASSETT: Extraordinarily so. And so pleased that this story, you know, written by Ryan, and Joe Robert Cole, and Marvel, that it supported that. You know, it – you know, in African culture, you know, they feel as if there is no king without a queen.
And I think in this story, it highlights the queen, you know, the warrior, you know, the general – the young sister, you know. So I was so proud to have my daughter, and my son there last night, because in their faces, and in their spirit – and they were feeling themselves.
DANAI GURIRA: Yeah, okay, I’ll talk. Yeah, when Ryan sat me down and talked to me about his vision, and the story, and the characters, and the women, I was just floored, you know, because you don’t actually get to hear that often. You know, you don’t actually get to hear that often. You know, you don’t actually get sat down and hear that type of a vision. And then it embodied with us being on the continent, women from the continent, but very developed, very complex. It was amazing. I mean, it was just like, this is going to – like, this is something else – like, I just want to watch it. I get to be in it?
There’s so many great things I could say about how Ryan developed these women characters, and allowed us to collaborate – that I’m just – I feel really blessed about, and excited.
Q: The line that you have to walk in this film to make this blockbuster, big budget, Marvel film, but also keep those themes, and so and go deep, and really make a film that has some meaning – that’s tough to do. So where did you, or how do you kind of try to balance that off?
RYAN COOGLER: I think it was – I mean, it’s something that I actually like talking about, because you know, for me, I grew up loving comic books. I love not just comic books, but I love pop culture. I love toys, actions figures, you know, video games, all of that stuff. When I got older and got in the, you know, and realized that I wanted to make movies, right, that’s how I fell in love with internationalism, and, you know, cinema that left with you, you know, left you with something to chew on, with something to think about. But I never fell out of love with those types of films, you know, and those types of stories. And I think the best versions of those stories, you know, do both things. And for me, when I came and sat down with Marvel, after speaking with Nate a little bit over the phone, and meeting him – and you know, I was very honest with Kevin. And you think of Marvel like this big, huge studio. It’s like, oh, man, like the biggest studio in the world right now.
Writer-director Ryan Coogler is known for his intimate character-driven style, which catapulted him to the forefront of the indie film world in 2013 with his riveting award-winning drama “Fruitvale Station,” starring Michal B. Jordan. Coogler’s follow-up film “Creed,” again with Michael B. Jordan and also with Sylvester Stallone, cemented his reputation as a filmmaker who excelled with challenging, multi-layered material.
“Ryan Coogler is an unbelievable filmmaker,” comments producer Kevin Feige. “He’s already made two films that, I believe, will stand the test of time. The fact that he was as excited and passionate about jumping into this storyline as we were was amazing for us. His early thoughts and ideas really reinvigorated us with the possibilities for the film.”
For Coogler, talking with Kevin Feige was a meeting of minds that also “definitely attracted” him to the prospect of taking on “Black Panther.” “Kevin is somebody who you could tell really loves what he does,” says Coogler. “Kevin has a really clear vision of what this universe means in pop culture and in the industry and what it could do. He’s a big-picture guy, but at the same time he can go from big picture to character and story and what’s important in a heartbeat.”
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” releases in theaters on February 16, 2018.