Chadwick Boseman on the ‘Vulnerable’ Process of Becoming ‘Black Panther’

Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther Film Frame/Marvel Studios

Chadwick Boseman is no rookie when it comes to taking on legendary roles. He transformed into James Brown in Get On Up and Jackie Robinson in 42. However, playing T’Challa, the Black Panther, was “more diplomatic.”

“You have to find what’s healthy for you and what’s healthy for the people around you. You have to know when to detox and when you don’t, when you talk to your family and when you don’t,” Boseman, 41, told Us Weekly and other reporters at the Black Panther Hollywood premiere on Monday, January 29.

Chadwick-Boseman-Black-Panther-premiere
Chadwick Boseman attends the Los Angeles Premiere “Black Panther” at Dolby Theatre on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

To play James Brown, Boseman couldn’t speak to the team on set. “I knew I would fire everybody if I talked to them. I had to talk to them at ungodly hours, when I was too tired to stay in that space anymore. Then answer questions the next time I talk to them after I had time to meditate on it,” the Avengers star explained.

He then described 42 as a “quiet experience,” so he spent more time listening and less time responding.

“This experience is more one where I was more able to deal with people. They just had to deal with listening to T’Challa. He’s more diplomatic, and he’s a person who considers family. So it was a great time to talk to everybody,” he explained. “It was a great time, they just had to listen to me, in that accent.”

As for playing a superhero, Boseman didn’t look at the role like that.

“I played this character not based upon the superhero aspects of him and things blowing up and fights and all of that, that he has a very human experience,” Boseman said. “This movie is about him being vulnerable. He can’t complete his arc without the vulnerability of the losses, without dealing with death. So in essence this entire movie about that, still, losing his father.”

Black Panther, also starring Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira, hits theaters on Friday, February 16.

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