Marvel(LOS ANGELES) — Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman and director Ryan Coogler cover the February issue of Variety. In the article, fans learn how both men ended up with their coveted roles and why having a black director was so important.
“I think it was 24 hours between saying his name in a creative story meeting and talking to his agent and getting on the phone with him,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige when asked how they decided upon Boseman for the lead role.
Unlike Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt, who all had to audition for their lead Marvel roles, Boseman didn’t need to try out. Instead he received his offer while speaking with Marvel reps on a call while doing promo for Get on Up, in which he played James Brown.
For Coogler, the film came after his friend Ava DuVernay passed on the project.
However, both men agree that having Coogler at the helm was important.
“Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his perspective? Probably not,” Boseman said when asked if a white director could have made Black Panther. “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 agrees and adds, “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 I, Godfather II, Mean Streets and Goodfellas. Show me a movie about Brooklyn better than Do the Right Thing.”
Black Panther opens nationwide February 16.
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