Forest Whittaker took the time sit day with myself and 24 other Bloggers for a roundtable interview. This interview does not contain any spoilers but a lot of solid details regarding his time on the set and what we can expect from him soon. Forest Whitaker plays Zuri in the film Black Panther. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you enjoy our chat with Forest Whittaker it meant the world to me to sit across from one of the greatest actors of all times.
What was it like to work on your first Marvel movie?
It was exciting I remember when we were at the Wakanda Falls at the time it’s so overwhelming it felt like this hundred-foot waterfall was falling all around us. It’s a very powerful, powerful experience what I did with Chad inside, I really got to the get inside the emotional heart of it. It’s more complete than a lot of other experiences in some ways.
I know you traced your African ancestry roots to Ghana. Did knowing that influence your portrayal at all?
I guess it did, but I didn’t fashion my character around the two tribes I fashioned him around different spiritual leaders. I tried different ways of getting into the moral fiber for the community since he’s like the spiritual leader of Wakanda.
Did you see this happening?
I could have never dreamt of something like this I think that the expression of it I didn’t imagine having this kind of magnitude. I think I imagined it that way not just from the comic book but when Ryan said he was going to do it and I had a relationship with Ryan before. So, I knew him as a filmmaker and as an artist I thought that something special was going to happen. I didn’t know what exactly, but I knew something special was going to happen.
Is there a superstition or a ritual before going into character? Did you always have this sort of smoothness about you?
I guess I always try to do all the research I start to study the different people and then slowly it just comes together. I don’t know if there’s a magic formula. At some point, I guess I can say the magic formula for me is to just surrender. I say okay this is your space and let’s make it happen and do it and I believe. That’s kind of the magic formula I’d want to have.
What was it like off camera working with the rest of the cast?
It was like Wakanda Falls they were playing music, and the drummers would continue to play a lot between the takes. People would start singing and stuff, so it was like a real communal experience. Even when we weren’t working a guy would start leading them in songs it was something unlike any other.
This was very different from the other films that you have been on?
Yeah it was I mean I had just finished the film that was kind of about the KKK a true story, and I was doing all my research and learning about what I needed to know to play this preacher. I studied being a preacher I studied to understand how to express myself I can’t compare the two experiences. Every experience is different every movie that I do most of the time is different when it starts to get too similar I know that there’s something wrong. If I can’t feel a little fear about it and I don’t feel like I’m going to change or grow from it then it’s something wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing it.
Could you see yourself doing any other role in this movie?
I think Ryan cast me right.
What were your thoughts after watching the film last night?
I was blown away by the film I didn’t expect all the humor emotions, messages. So, I was still trying to process it I realized that I need to go see the movie a couple of times. [LAUGHS]
What messages do you hope viewers take away from this film?
We are our brothers’ keepers we must be even within our own comfort be able to reach out and help others it’s important. I think the message of female empowerment just both physically and mentally just the power that it expresses. I think there are other messages, too like finding your own voice you know. Particularly for people of color, but for everyone there is a lot of messages in the movie.
What’s next for you?
Well I have a few films coming out and I just produced one we had at Sundance called Sorry to Bother You. I did this movie about Desmond Tutu, where I played Desmond Tutu and I’m just going to wait for it to come out, you know. Of course, I’m waiting for this one to come out and then Saving Steve McQueen. I think I just need to sit still for a second.
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to take his rightful place as King. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.