Ok I am back for another installment of interviews with the Marvel’s Black Panther cast and today is the interview I did with Forest Whitaker. The bloggers and I got a chance to interview with him intimately and share his thoughts on his character, Zuri, in the film. Let me just say Forest is one of the humblest celebrities I have ever encountered with. He seems like a gentle teddy bear, soft spoken and dare I say even a little shy. Despite his real life personal coyness, he always plays a powerful role in every movie he portrays. This time Forest takes his role in a more spiritual direction, so read more on that and follow along. 

Forest Whitaker as Zuri

Photo credit: Natasha C. Nicholes (HousefulOfNicholes.com)

Every movie that I do, most of the time, is different, and then when it starts to get too similar, then I know that there’s something wrong.  And if I can’t feel a little fear about it, and I don’t feel like I’m going to change or grow from it, then it’s something wrong.  Maybe I shouldn’t be doing it. – Forest

Zuri is a religious figure or spiritual figure. Spirituality is something that exists strongly in Wakanda and he has a major influence in the tribe when it comes to traditions as an elder. Zuri is major link to T’Challa’s father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance, similar to an uncle figure.

Photo credit: Natasha C. Nicholes (HousefulOfNicholes.com)

Forest on filming his first Marvel movie

It was exciting.  Because I remember when we were at the Wakanda Falls —  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, powerful experience.  But what I did with Chad [T’Challa/Black Panther] inside, I really got to the get inside the emotional heart of it, too.

Forest on the powerful energy of being on set of Black Panther

Wakanda Falls was really interesting, because they were playing music, and the drummers would continue to play a lot between the takes.  People would start singing and stuff, so it was like, a real communal experience.  Even when we weren’t working, you know, a guy would start leading them in songs…[LAUGHS] it was something unlike any other.

Photo credit: Natasha C. Nicholes (HousefulOfNicholes.com)

Forest on his African ancestry dna discovery influencing his character portrayal of Zuri

I guess it did.  Yeah. I fashioned him around different spiritual leaders, and different ways of trying to get like, get into the moral fiber for the community, because he’s like, the he’s the spiritual leader of Wakanda.  And so just trying to understand that from different perspective.  

Forest on the message he hopes people take from this film

We are our brothers’ keepers, you know, that we have to, even in our own comfort, be able to reach out and help those and help others is important.  One tribe, I think, is important. I think the message of female empowerment, you know, just both physically and mentally. The power that that expresses, about Killmonger, like about our youth, and how we’re molded by our environments, and how we have to step in and try to move those things forward.  

There’s other messages, too, you know.  Colonialism.  And, you know, all of those kinds of things.  Finding your own voice…Empowerment. Particularly for people of color, but for everyone.  It’s a lot of messages in the movie…those are some of them.

Photo credit: Natasha C. Nicholes (HousefulOfNicholes.com)

It was great speaking with Forest! A legend with over three decades of consistent work in Hollywood. I truly enjoy Forest portrayal of Zuri in the movie. His role in the film was profound as he was the spiritual bind in the movie. Wakanda is a very spiritual county and most of the time spiritual traditional and knowledge always come from the elders. Zuri was an elder, who was poised, calm and powerful. Its not always about fighting physically to get a solution, many time we have to be spiritually grounded to get the truth. He definitely was a great spirtual mentor for T’Challa/Black Panther in the movie!


Synopsis Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16th.


BLACK PANTHER official website: https://marvel.com/movies/movie/224/black_panther
BLACK PANTHER on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackPantherMovie
BLACK PANTHER on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theblackpanther
Marvel Studios on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marvelstudios/

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip, sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.

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About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

I am a not so typical, unstereotypical 20something year old lady who is trying to make my mark on this planet. This blog has many aspect through my visual perspective through photos, words & wittiness. I am highly creative, I love to socialize, and also a social media butterfly. I don’t follow trends, I create them.


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