Heath Ledger’s Joker Inspired Michael B. Jordan’s ‘Black Panther’ Villain

Michael B. Jordan revealed a surprising influence for his take on the Black Panther villain Erik Killmonger: Heath Ledger's iteration of the Joker.

Black Panther Chadwick Boseman Marvel Studios

To get into his role in Marvel’s Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan has revealed that he took inspiration from Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.

In an interview in the latest issue of Empire, Michael B. Jordan stated that one of his inspirations for what he did with the role is Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. The inspiration isn’t direct according to Jordan (meaning that we presumably won’t hear Erik Killmonger hold someone at knifepoint and tell them about how he got his scars), but more of an ideal that he hoped to reach with his performance:

“You see performances as an actor, and as a fan – you look at Heath Ledger’s performance, say, in The Dark Knight, and it’s like, ‘Wow’. I want to try to get something like that. You want Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. Just trying to find my place amongst those roles, and strive for that, even if I don’t make it.”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s villains have largely been improving as of late, between Helmut Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange, Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. If Black Panther is able to continue that streak, then it’d be a strong sign that things are getting better for a setting that’s already connecting with audiences on a level like few others.

Black Panther will be released on February 16, 2018. The movie features a cast that includes Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (Black Panther), Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Forest Whitaker as Zuri, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, John Kani as T’Chaka, Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Kilmonger, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, and Winston Duke as M’Baku (Man-Ape). In addition, Atandwa Kani has been cast in an unspecified role.

Source: Empire