Black Panther is probably going to be one of the biggest movies of the year, but in terms of how important it is, it’s going to be a game changer for a lot of people. For a movie like Black Panther to work, the people starring in the movie and the people behind the camera need to be aware of how important the identity of the production is. Star Chadwick Boseman and director Ryan Coogler recently spoke to Variety about their own personal identities and how they brought those to the production.
“For me, in retrospect, I realized a lot of what I deal with as an artist is with themes of identity,” Coogler says. “I think it’s something common among African-Americans. For us, we’ve got a strange circumstance in terms of our view of ourselves.” He made a pilgrimage to Africa before he began shooting “Black Panther,” the first time he visited the continent. “I have to go if I’m making this movie,” Coogler says. “I’m not qualified just because I look like this.”
When it comes to the question or whether or not a white person could direct a Black Panther movie, Boseman was a little hesitant to say one way or another.
“Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his perspective? Probably not. It wouldn’t be nuanced in the same way because they wouldn’t have the same conflict. They don’t have the African-American conflict that exists: Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have an ancestry that is very hard to trace.”
Coogler agreed and went on to say that the best art comes from people who have a real connection to the source material.
“I tend to like movies where the filmmaker has a personal connection to the subject matter. I don’t know if you could find a group of films that deal with the Italian-American organized crime better than ‘Godfather 1,’ ‘Godfather 2,’ ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘Goodfellas.’ Show me a movie about Brooklyn better than ‘Do the Right Thing.’”
The first screenings of Black Panther have already happened, and the people who have seen the movie are saying it’s one of the best Marvel films yet. The embargo on those reviews drops in the next few days with the rest of the critics screenings happening next week.
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.