Boseman & Coogler on importance of Black Panther having a black director

BLACK PANTHER is on track to have one of the best openings ever for a Marvel movie, and maybe for any comic book movie, currently track to open around $150 million. A movie of this size and scope is the first of its kind to feature a mainly black cast (Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and more) and have a black director in (Ryan Coogler). The movie tries to go beyond the thrills of a regular comic book movie and tap into something more relevant and complex, and that’s something that Boseman says those themes could’ve only been brought to life by a filmmaker of color.

Boseman and Coogler did a feature with Variety for the movie, and Boseman went on to say that though a white director could’ve directed the movie fine, the fact it was directed by Coogler gave it an added depth and nuance that wouldn’t have been there otherwise:

Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his [Coogler's] perspective? Probably not. 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 also talked about how dealing with identity is a running theme in his past movies (FRUITVALE STATION and CREED), and that the same goes for BLACK PANTHER.

For me, in retrospect, I realized a lot of what I deal with as an artist is with themes of identity. I think it’s something common among African-Americans. For us, we’ve got a strange circumstance in terms of our view of ourselves.

Coogler speaks more to Boseman's point, saying a movie is not as strong unless the filmmaker has a personal connection to it. Coogler then references certain critically acclaimed films as evidence, such as Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather films and Spike Lee's DO THE RIGHT THING.

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 1,’ ‘Godfather 2,’ ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘Goodfellas.’ Show me a movie about Brooklyn better than ‘Do the Right Thing.’

Based on the early reactions, BLACK PANTHER stands above other comic book movies in several ways, one important one being it having such a strong identity and foundation in African culture. I agree with Boseman that a white director could do the research and deliver an authentic-looking movie, but the heart and soul of it - that quest for place and identity - probably wouldn't be nearly as strong. I've never heard any director or actor talk about a comic book film in such ways, and I think come BLACK PANTHER we'll be treated to a kind of comic book movie we've never seen.

BLACK PANTHER arrives February 16.

Source: Variety



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