For the Black Panther press event, we were granted an exclusive interview with Oscar winner, Forest Whitaker. For 15 minutes, this quiet but powerful highly regarded actor dropped Black Panther knowledge on us, and share just enough to help us continue our excitement for the new film, due in theaters February 16th.
A Quiet Giant
If you’ve ever seen any of Mr. Whitaker’s performances, you know he is a genius at giving us a song yet quiet experience. His role as Zuri in Black Panther is no different. When commenting about his quiet performances, and allow the audience to connect with him in this way, Forest says this:
I think it’s just trying to have the right thoughts and internal life when (acting). And hopefully, an audience will be able to feel what I’m thinking, and what’s going on inside.
Forest makes a point of taking us with him during his acting journeys. We become part of the execution, which shows how advanced he is at his craft.
His First Marvel Movie
Black Panther is Forest’s first Marvel film, and ironically, he was able to view natural marvels of the world while filming it. There’s a shot where the cast gathers at “Wakanda Falls,’ and Forest was taken aback by the beauty of it all.
It was exciting. 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 this pool of water. It’s a very powerful experience. I really got to get inside the emotional heart of it, too. So it (was) more complete than a lot of other experiences, in some ways.
The Creation of Zuri
Forest Whitaker plays Zuri, King T’Challa’s spiritual advisor in Black Panther. When asked what influenced his development of this character, including his recent research of his African ancestry, he shared some interesting insight.
I did fashion him around two tribes, I fashioned him around different spiritual leaders, and different ways of trying to get into the moral fiber for the community. He’s the spiritual leader of Wakanda. And so (I was) just trying to understand that from different perspectives.
The Magnitude of Black Panther
Forest’s relationship with writer and director Ryan Coogler allowed him to visualize the amazing energy behind Black Panther. He’s worked with Ryan before, and knows how dedicated he is to his work, and telling an amazing story. Forest had a glimpse of magnitude.
I think I imagined it 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. I knew him as a filmmaker, and as an artist, and I thought that something really special was going to happen. I didn’t know what exactly, but I definitely knew something special was going to happen.
Wow. This interview with Forest was mind-blowing. There was so much more we learned from him, and I can’t wait to share it all in a future. Interview. If you missed it, check out our exclusive interview with Forest’s co-stars, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira.
Black Panther hits theaters February 16th!
Missed the official Black Panther trailer? Check it out here: