Attending a global press conference is an experience in itself, and I’m hoping to convey that experience properly to you my readers today. Attending the global press conference for Black Panther was aptly an “other” experience for me, and well, I’m SURE from my coverage of the movie this month, you know that I’ve appreciated every single aspect of it. When a movie has SO MANY MESSAGES and still manages to play to the desire to see the good guys ultimately win, you do everything in your power to showcase it, and I’m hoping that’s what’s come across this month.
Now, on to the press conference. Nichelle Turner from Entertainment Tonight moderated the panel, and she did a great job of being equal parts fan girl and journalist. Keeping the questions coming, and the actors involved takes a little bit more skill than one would think. Especially when you’re trying to ask questions that aren’t the SAME THING THEY HEAR ALL OF THE TIME. #WakandaQuestionIsThat is a great hashtag to check out what I’m talking about.
Ryan Coogler is “the truth” – Forest Whitaker knew it long before we did
I knew it from the moment that I met him. I mean, when he started to express himself, and I could feel, like, the center of, you know, of what he wanted to communicate to the world, and how he wanted to touch the world, and it really was a really powerful thing to see. And then I think when he started to talk to me about his ideas – at that time, he was in school, I remember thinking, you know, this person, if he’s given the right space he’s going to, you know, do something that can change, you know, our lives in some way. And I thought that Fruitvale was that thing. That was the thing that he suggested, one of the projects he had, and really believed in it. And I was fortunate enough that he felt comfortable with us, like, producing that for him, and working with him on it. It’s – for me, it’s – I’m just blown away, you know, just watching his growth, every time, to see him really – how he’s able to just manifest so much importance, and you know, in socially relevant moments, inside of things that we want to sit and watch. And so it’s been quite a powerful experience for me last night to watch that.
Women rule this movie equally
“they weren’t hired BECAUSE they were women, they were hired because they were the best for the job.“
Ryan Coogler is DEEP in the Black Panther Fandom
I can tell you how proud I was to hear him rattle off the names and editions of Black Panther writers, and how he took bits from each of their variants of the superhero. All too often we hear actors or directors say that once they were given the job, THAT’S when they learned about their characters. Ryan has been deep in the character of Black Panther since he was younger – even though he admits to not really identifying with him initially. Mostly because T’Challa was a rich Oxford educated man, and Ryan lived in Oakland, California. He didn’t see the parallel until he was older, and I’m so glad he did.
Martin Freeman & Andy Serkis On What it’s like to be the minority
Andy Serkis recounts an interaction that he had on set with Ryan, in which Ryan speaks to the fact that he’s never directed two white guys before. Serkis states that it’s tragic and hilarious at the same time. For obvious reasons. A black director who hasn’t been given the opportunity to direct actors that don’t look like him until NOW is quite tragic. All in all, everyone enjoyed working with Ryan even when they were one of three antagonists and also the comic relief. Freeman jokingly quips that he felt bullied on set, but recovers by saying that he enjoyed working with the cast as well, and having the chance to prove himself as a hero of sorts, but not the type of white hero that Hollywood isn’t lacking. He was afforded an opportunity to show whether he was down with the cause or not, and we should all be satisfied with the result.
Once again I ask, have you gotten your tickets for Black Panther yet? The movie opens February 16 and you need to be in the place. Until then, I leave you with this official trailer!