Round Table Discussion With Winston Duke & Andy Serkis From Black Panther

I hear that today at midnight you can actually head out to theaters to see Black Panther! One thing for sure, you will love these two main characters Andy Serkis who plays “Ulysses Klaue / Klaw” and Winston Duke who plays “M’Baku”. They both have really STRONG roles in the movie and will have you on the edge of your seat! We had a chance to talk to them about their roles, how they got the parts and so much more! Check out what they had to say inside…

This is the absolute perfect cast for this movie, how were you cast?

Andy: 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.

Winston: 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  But he just kept going more personal more personal, we do it, we did it another way we did it another way we did it another way 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.

The vegetarian line was it adlibbed, because it tickled people.

Winston: Oh yeah, it was not adlibbed, but you know what, there was a lot of play. And I think what this movie does is it questions assigned narratives, you know what I mean. It’s there are assigned narratives on people and there are assigned narratives on M’Baku, assigned narratives on his people, and he’s aware of it. And I feel like that’s a powerful place to come from and it’s definitely.

Love seeing the resolve that your character has at the end, we don’t see what happened, what do you think it was? What brought you out to help?

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

You use all these isms and put them on people. So how does that how does- how do you shape that and what does it look like. And M’Baku’s question is, do we stay here, do we stay in these mountains and protect ourselves, and what kind of world are we creating by doing that. Because we also have to live in it. 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.

Black Panther Everywhere Feb 16, 2018

Images via Disney

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