It feels like we shouldn’t be getting another Marvel movie so soon but Black Panther is right around the corner. Empire has released a new subscriber cover and an interview with production designer Hannah Beachler who also designed the cover.
I started by researching the different comics, and that’s where I started to understand the character and all the iterations he’s gone through. Ryan [Coogler] sent me all these images he took when he was writing in South Africa. See how he saw the country through his eyes helped me understand the vision he had for the film.
There have already been a lot of people pointing out how the design of Black Panther resembles real traditions and looks from Africa and it turns out Beachler did travel to help with the designs of the movie.
Yes. I went over last year with the location manager, and we scouted around and broke things down. We travelled up and down the coast of South Africa, so we really got to see a big part of the country and found a texture I wouldn’t have been able to, I don’t think any of us would have been able to, had we not gone there.
Because we are nerds and nerds love practical effects Beachler confirms that they did try to balance the use of practical versus blue screen but leaned toward practical when they could.
We did a lot [of practical]. Understanding how Ryan works with actors, and for me as a designer, we needed to have as much of the environment there as we could. We were able to keep a lot of the blue screen to beyond the set. It was always about what we can’t actually create, you know?
Beachler has worked with director Ryan Coogler before, on Fruitvale Station and Creed, but those were indies compared to a Marvel movie. Beachler didn’t find the entire production daunting as she was excited about the challenge.
I was psyched for the challenge, and honoured Ryan trusted me with such a big job. It was one of those things that if I took the time to sit down to actually think about it, it was overwhelming. I had a great team, and we took it one day at a time. If you constantly think about how big the film really is, there would be no way.
We’re less than two months away from Black Panther coming to the big screen and it looks like it’s going to be something really special.
Summary: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
Black Panther, directed Ryan Coogler, stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Martin Freeman. It will be released on February 16th, 2018.