Ryan Coogler Calls ‘Black Panther’ His ‘Most Personal Movie’ To Date

In an interview with Fast Company, Ryan Coogler said, in contrast to directors such as Ava DuVernay, he was looking forward to working within the MCU and, moreover, his upcoming Black Panther film would be his “most personal movie yet.” The wunderkind director of Fruitvale Station and Creed also spoke about the challenges of breaking into Hollywood, the thrill of success and diversity behind the camera.

It’s a specific challenge. What Marvel’s doing, and what you see a lot of studios doing now that Marvel has done it so successfully, is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that’s a great creative challenge to me—to make this movie as personal as possible. It’s going to be my most personal movie to date, which is crazy to say, but it’s completely the case. I’m obsessed with this character and this story right now, and I think it’s going to be very unique and still fit into the overall narrative that they’re establishing. I grew up as a comic book fan, and the same things used to happen in the comic books. You’d have Wolverine’s books, and they’d be so much darker and more brutal than the X-Men books, but they’d still fit in when you open the pages of the X-Men book. It’s new to movies, but it’s not new to storytelling.

The new Black Panther comic just became the highest-selling issues of the year already and Chadwick Boseman’s commanding breakout performance as the character in Captain America: Civil War is inspiring fan fervor like #BlackPantherSoLit. Both Coogler and the character are at the precipice of enormous popularity even compared to their current successes as anticipation for the February 16, 2018 release is already building. When asked if having a release date given before ever even being hired was daunting, Coogler was actually enthused at the idea.

Yeah, but it’s funny, because things that appear to be challenges, I actually look at them as blessings. I’m not too far removed from making an independent film and not knowing if it’s gonna see the light of day. We didn’t know if it’d get into Sundance, or if we’d even finish it. We could have run out of money. Then you finish, and you wonder if you’ll get into Sundance. Then will anybody like it? If they buy it, will they put it out to theaters? With each step, it’s a huge victory, but the finish line was getting it out to the world. To work on a movie where before you’re hired, you know it’s going to go out to the world is really, really cool. It’s daunting, and it’s intense, but Creed was the first time I worked on a movie I knew would come out, so with this, it’s actually something that I’m looking forward to.

Lupita Nyong’o and Creed star/Coogler muse Michael B. Jordan recently joined as the female lead and villain respectively. Hot, unconfirmed scuttlebutt is telling me Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega may be meeting for the film as well. Regardless if Boyega joins, that’s already an amazing cast, as part of the stated goal of casting 90 percent of it with African or African-American actors. Production is scheduled to begin January 2017.

SOURCE: Fast Company

Sam Flynn

Sam Flynn

Sam is a writer and journalist whose passion for pop culture burns with the fire of a thousand suns and at least three LED lamps.