When Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler (pronounced BEEK-ler) enter the room, you can tell that you’re dealing with two creative ladies. Just the day before Carter’s hair was in an intricate design for her walk down the purple carpet for Black Panther. Now, it’s in a full fro of blond curls, and it’s looking fabulous. Beachler is sporting a cascade of brown curls, and her smile is contagious. They both warmly greet us, and we get started with our questions for Production Designer, Hannah Beachler and Costume Designer, Ruth E. Carter, for one of the most anticipated films this year. By the way, did you see that it broke the 200 million dollar mark opening weekend? It made it’s budget back in three days, and that speaks VOLUMES.
With so much of the conversation surrounding the clothing and the landscape of Wakanda, it’s only natural that we were able to sit down with these talented women and ask them what was the inspiration behind their vision of Wakanda and its people. They weren’t stingy with the answers either, and it made for one of the best conversations that I’ve had regarding hair, clothing, land and heritage.
Beauty of Wakanda and it’s location
We all know that Wakanda is a fictional place, so we wanted to know Beachler’s vision for it. Here’s what she had to say.
HB: I come on first. Production designer’s usually on films first after the director, hired by the director and the producers. You know, of course I had seen that it was announced that he was doing it. And come in and do this. So, you know, process was — and he was really good about guiding me — is starting at the macro. And it was really about like where is Wakanda in — on the continent of Africa, you know, because that’s going to then determine everything that goes around.And we kind of set it in sort of eastern sub-Saharan Africa. So, basically you can kind of place it on the border of DRC like right above Burundi and Rwanda. So there was like Kibuye was there, Kenya, Uganda, above Uganda, Sudan. So, that’s sort of where we are. And we also took from Omo Valley tribes in Ethiopia. So you go down a little bit, but we wanted to keep it sub-Saharan. We wanted to keep it very specific.