I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles courtesy of Disney to attend the #BlackPantherEvent & ABCTVEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.
Chatting with Forest Whitaker about Black Panther #BlackPantherEvent
Forest Whitaker, yes THE FOREST WHITAKER, yeah him, sat down with us to chat about Black Panther and I think I was more nervous talking to him than anyone of the other cast members. I mean this man is a living LEGEND, his accolades include an Oscar for his performance in The Last King of Scotland, a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Bird, plus 6 NAACP Image Awards for Best Supporting Actor (The Butler, Phenomenon, Phone Booth, The Last King of Scotland, Southpaw and The Great Debaters). Add to that a plethora of nominations and awards for The Last King of Scotland as well as The Butler. Forest has a long list of accolades, and I can see him adding a few more based on his performance in Black Panther.
The message of female empowerment both physically and mentally, and just the power that that expresses. Like about our youth, and how we’re molded by our environments, and how we have to step in and try to move those things forward. – Forest Whitaker on the Message of Black Panther
In person is no different than on stage, Forest is a smooth, laid-back man – almost soft-spoken, he gives off a different vibe than many of the actors/actresses I have interviewed. Much like his character Zuri in Black Panther he is really peaceful and serene. He entered the room and appeared to be a little bashful and shy due to our thunderous clapping and yelping in honor of him. He gave a soft chuckle before he greeted us with a smile, hello and thank you. It was obvious from his demeanor why Forest is the master of “quiet” yet powerful performances, but we didn’t allow his demeanor to hinder us from jumping in with the questions.
What was it like, working on your first Marvel movie?
It was exciting. I remember when we were at the Wakanda Falls, it was so overwhelming. Because it felt like this hundred-foot waterfall was falling all around us. And [we were in] this pool of water. Bringing him out [Chadwick Boseman] out of this ship, and it was just massive. It was a very powerful, powerful experience.
You traced your African ancestry roots to Ghana. Did knowing that influence your portrayal at all?
I guess it did. I fashioned him around different spiritual leaders, and different ways of trying to get into the moral fiber for the community, because he’s the spiritual leader of Wakanda. So just trying to understand that from different perspectives.
Is there a superstition or a ritual before going into character? Did you always have this sort of smoothness about you?
I’m always trying to do all the research. I do the research and I start to study the different people and the things that they do and meet different people and get different voices worked on. And then slowly it just comes together. I don’t know if there’s a magic formula. At some point, I can say, the magic formula for me is, at some point, I just surrender. I just 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’s next for you?
Well. I have a few films coming out, and so I think I’m going to let them come out. I’m gonna let Burden come out. I just produced one that was just at Sundance called Sorry to Bother You, I think we’re going to see that come out. I did this movie about Desmond Tutu, where I played Desmond Tutu, and I’m just going to wait for it to come out. And of course, I’m waiting for this one to come out, and then Saving Steve McQueen.
What were your thoughts after watching the film last night?
I was blown away by the film. I don’t know if I expected all of the humor, all the emotion, and all of the messages. So, I was still trying to process it. I realized that I need to go see the movie a couple of times.
I totally agree Forest this is definitely a film you have to see multiple times, heck I even said that in my movie review.
Black Panther is in theaters everywhere February 16, 2018.
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 succeed to the throne and 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.
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