[INTERVIEW] CHATTING WITH MARVEL’S BLACK PANTHER STARS WINSTON DUKE AND ANDY SERKIS #BLACKPANTHEREVENT #BLACKPANTHER Thursday 15 February, 2018

I still have more Black Panther cast interviews can you believe it? Say hello to the bad guys! I was truly excited to be interviewing two of black panthers “villains” or who are perceived to be the bad guys, Winston Duke and Andy Serkis.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER M’Baku (Winston Duke) ©Marvel Studios 2018

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

They were fun because Andy Serkis character “Klaue” is no stranger to the Marvel Universe, and welcoming Winston Duke with open arms as this is his first film. Congrats to Winston for this huge movie being his first movie role.

Winston Duke as M’Baku

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER M’Baku (Winston Duke) Ph: Matt Kennedy ©Marvel Studios 2018

M’Baku – Armed with the hardened Jabari wood armor and a battle staff, M’Baku is the formidable leader of the Jabari tribe, a group of Wakandans who have shunned the use of vibranium and removed themselves from the mainstream Wakandan life. In the wake of T’Chaka’s death, M’Baku is faced with the choice of challenging T’Challa for the throne, or joining forces with his would-be adversary to defend Wakanda from malevolent outside forces.

This is my first film, so to feel like I could hold my own and create a space where I felt I had agency as an artist came from Ryan creating a safe space.  Ryan creating a space space and then people like this, you know, stewarding me into a world like this where I felt comfortable enough to do my best work, and feel comfortable enough to do work that I’m proud of.  – Winston

Winston shares how he got casted for Black Panther as a newbie in the industry

I think I went through- since I was more of a unnamed actor, and I went through the standard audition process.  So I was the audience.  So I’m only hearing about Black Panther and seeing the cast come together and they’re like oh my god, Chadwick Boseman I’m like Chadwick Boseman and then it’s Michael B. Jordan, I’m like Michael B. Jordan is in it too? And then they announced Lupita Nyong’o.  And then they’re like Danai has joined the cast. I’m like Danai has joined the cast and it just kept going and going and I just- I wanted to- I told my representatives, I said I’d just love to get in that room.  I love Ryan Coogler’s work, I think it has a really strong sense of social justice, every single thing that he does.  And I want my career to have a strong social justice footprint, even if it is commercial.  I want it to be connected in some ways so I kind of expressed that mission for myself and my career. 

And then lo and behold I got in the room with him, he had me do it like twenty different ways and he’s like cool cool cool, can you make it a little bit more personal, personal, can you make it more personal [LAUGHTER]. But he just told me to keep going more personal…we do it…we did it another way…Change the lines here change the lines there.  He wrote sides specifically just for the audition.

And we just kept going and going and going and I didn’t hear back for maybe four weeks.  So I was like that was fun, I got to work with him, you know, I actually got to work with him.  Because this took like forty five minutes, to go through the whole process.  So I was content and then I got another call and they’re, they really like you and they’re asking more questions.  And they want to test you.  I go and I do the test and it just felt very organic, I got home, I said a prayer, I heard a voice say everything is going to be cool.  You’re all good, don’t worry about it.  And the rest is history.  [APPLAUSE]

Winston talks about the value of his character in the Black Panther movie versus the comic

I feel what was a great opportunity for me with M’Baku was I was given the opportunity to create a new language within that world essentially.  And the one thing that Marvel did great that really grounded and created a new world, a new life for M’Baku was that it was a departure from the comics in a sense that it’s no longer this M’Baku being the leader of this religious minority.  

He’s not the leader of this religious cult, he’s now the leader of an established grounded tribe.  So that gives you a lot more agency, it gives you a lot more presence, it gives you a lot more strength and ability within that world.  And creating that society that lives outside of Wakanda proper was something that was really great.

Winston feelings on how this film will make an impact for people once they’ve watched Black Panther

Its an excitement to know that people and not adults but children are going to be exposed to narratives like this.  Before they’re fully developed and before they’ve ingested and consumed placed narratives, narratives that were formed before they were born about them, and they’re getting to see representations of people who look exactly like them.

Before they’re fully formed, which is going to help them see their world differently.  It’s going to change their paradigm from a really young age and they’re going to be consuming this in a way that they’re not seeing, I hope a four year old isn’t watching this, even though they might be watching this with an awareness of race.  But they might be and that’s just the world we live in.  But for them to- if they be do have an awareness, a fully developed or an idea of race.

And they’re watching this and going man I could be like that and man T’Challa looks like my uncle, man T’Challa looks my cousin, Michael B. Jordan looks my dad, Winston looks my dad Winston looks like my cousin, Winston looks like me and they’re getting to see that.  And children in Tobago are getting to see that, people in Trinidad, people in Brazil, people in Latin America, people all over the diaspora are going to get to see this and develop agency. That’s exciting.  And I was just watching and being like, this is wonderful, it’s a great time to be in a super hero movie.  And the movie itself is a super hero, it took on its own life, yeah-yeah.  

Winston on how his presence on film and his character can give a different view on what it means to be a person of color. 

I understand that being a person of color.  Being a black man in this world, I understand the narratives that are on the person, I understand that my body is highly and heavily political, just in its existence, you know what I mean.  And that is a place that people who are oppressed understand.  

And you are always aware of it and that gives you some power, it also gives you agency, because you actually know what’s going on at all times.  So that was an example of like him having full awareness of how he is viewed and how he’s seen and what people think of him and manipulating that, you know what I mean.  For his enjoyment and his people’s enjoyment.  So, it’s a really cool powerful thing.  

Andy Serkis as “Klaue”

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Ulysses Klaue – After first making his debut several years ago in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ulysses Klaue finally returns to the MCU. Klaue is one of the rare people to ever penetrate the borders of Wakanda and live to tell about it. He’s a weapons dealer who made off with a modest amount of vibranium, all of which was taken from him by Ultron. It seems Klaue is eager to get back into Wakanda, and he’s made an alliance with Erik Killmonger. He’s got a new robot arm that morphs into a weapon.

I don’t necessarily believe in evil as a concept, we are all on a spectrum of- you can have people who are reformed, you can have people who do terrible things but who can love as well. -Andy

Andy on how he got casted for Black Panther

Well so Ulysses Klaw comes into the world, the Marvel world in age of Ultram, in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  And at that point he’s working off a ship in India where he is selling- he’s an arms dealer basically, he’s an arms dealer gangster.  And at that point he’s amassing a huge quantity of vibranium and then Ultron tracks him down and he loses some of it.  So it was teased in.

And in fact- the way that I came on board actually was when I first started working with Joss Whedon who’s directing Avengers Age of Ultron, it was using performance capture, it was actually I was helping Mark Ruffalo with the Hulk.  Because they came to our studio in London called the Imaginarium and we were working with him and then James Spader to create the character Ultron because it was using the technology that I’m very familiar with.  And then Josh said oh man there’s this great character which I’d really love you to play, it’s only a small scene. But I think if the Black Panther movie comes on, you know, he’s very much an adversary for T’Challa in the Black Panther and I said oh wow that’s great.  And it was just this very quirky like you say kind of idiosyncratic slightly left field gangster character.  But which- so that’s how the character got introduced.  And then when Ryan took it on in this, he just wanted to have even more fun with it.  So it was- that was my way into it.

Andy speaking on the depths of his villain character of Klaue

The thing is it is great fun being able to dip into the dark side, because it in a safe environment.  And we work in the world of story where you’re allowed to do that.  But what I wanted to do with this character, with Klaue, was not make him in any way a kind of an archetypal villain or considered evil, although of course he is one of the world’s worst, because he is entirely driven by being selfish.  I mean he epitomizes in this film he really epitomizes what it is to be ultimately selfish in every aspect of living.  And he’s a taker, he’s one of the world’s takers, he just grasps and pulls and brings it all to himself.  But you kind of to make that character live and be human, I wanted to make him sort of strangely someone you might like to hang out with. So it’s, constantly as an actor you’re wanting to challenge the perception of good and evil.

And I don’t necessarily believe in evil as a concept, we are all on a spectrum of- you can have people who are reformed, you can have people who do terrible things but who can love as well.  So it’s trying to be complex and have a good time as well.

Winston on M’Baku’s powerful part that shaped the movie

I think what this film does powerfully is really interrogate a lot of strong questions, right.  And for me, the questions are, isolationism.

Or going out into the world and, you know, this colonial way of thinking.  And it’s because that’s the only- those are the only expressions that we’re familiar with.  We’re only familiar with taking care of yourself or if we’re going to go out into the world, we’re going to bring ourselves and impose it on others, you know what I mean.  So how do we do that in another way, and it’s how do we go out and help people with love.

How do we go out and help people and share who we are and what we are, without oppressing them?  And I don’t know if the the film presents an answer, but it asks you other questions, about how would it look like if you did?  Because we’ve only seen it play out these two ways, it’s you stay away from everyone and take care of yourself and enrich yourself, or you go out and you bring yourself and you put it on others and you use terror or you use violence.  

So I think it’s he’s grappling with the larger questions himself, because he’s realizing I’m part of this big world. And it’s going to come to my doorstep, and it always comes to your doorstep.  So how do we go out, how do I go out into Wakanda proper and help initiate change.  So I don’t know if it presents an answer, but it does give further question, yeah.

It was fun talking to the “bad guys”. They really aren’t so bad after all. In actuality, Winston’s character M’baku is really one of my favorite character for many reasons. I will explain why in a follow up blog, as I have currently seen the film 3x (presently) and M’baku’s character is multi-dimensional and I was happy to see his role play out the way it did. For this to be his first role, he did a fantastic job. He did it like a vet! Go Winston! You will learn more too when you see the movie. Please go out and see it and check out Andy (Klaue) and Winston (M’Baku) in Black Panther!

TRAILER

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.

GET SOCIAL WITH MARVEL’S BLACK PANTHER #BLACKPANTHEREVENT #BLACKPANTHER

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


Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty


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