“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman covers the Summer 2018 issue of Esquire UK magazine photographed by Melodie McDaniel.
ON BLACK PANTHER’S SUCCESS OVERSEAS: “Studios will very often tell you that movies with a black lead are not going to work overseas. That was the thing for me—this means something everywhere in the world. It could actually change how studios respond to [black] movies. You can no longer say definitively, ‘Black movies don’t work [outside of the U. S.].’”
ON DENZEL WASHINGTON’S REACTION TO THE MOVIE: “I had at least a two-hour conversation with Denzel after he saw the movie. He saw all of us onscreen and it was like, ‘Yes, finally! This is what I’ve been working for.’ When you see someone in his position—a star, a leader—don’t take it for granted that they’re struggling against the system to hold that position in order to express things a certain way without compromise. Think about the things they’ve turned down in order to be that person.”
ON STUDIO TREATMENT OF BLACK ACTORS: “There have been clear examples of movie stars that are not given the same respect of even marketing a movie internationally. If you see an international poster, very often, even though the movie will have a black star leading the movie, they won’t have that movie star featured prominently on the poster. I’ve had arguments with people about that. People don’t know the kinds of battles you have to go through [as a black movie star]. If I’m saying I’ve gone through those battles, I can only imagine the battles that people before me have gone through. As long as the work is of quality, there should be no reason something shouldn’t sell.”
ON NEVER WANTING TO BE AN ACTOR: “I was more so of the mind of the director and the writer. I didn’t want to be onstage and I didn’t want to be on camera. Not at all. My older brother, he’s a dancer; he was also in plays. I would sit in the audience with my mom watching the director, and I was more interested in what he was doing than the performance onstage; it didn’t register that it was something I wanted to do. I became an actor because I was just trying to learn the whole process.”
ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS IN DEVELOPING WAKANDA’S CULTURE: “There’s a shorthand on certain cultural moments that you don’t have to talk about [with a black director]. But in this case, we did have to talk about some things culturally because we were literally creating a culture. There were discussions in a way that there wouldn’t have been if this was totally an African-American cast. In a lot of cases, we were finding similarities cross-culturally. It was a sense of each of us still trying to create this culture together. Because we were trying to create Wakanda, it was a unique experience.”
The Summer issue of Esquire is on newsstands June 5th.
Cover: Jacket and Shirt by Saint Laurent
1st Image: Jacket by Fendi | Shirt by Bottega Veneta | Trousers by Missoni | Beaded bracelet by John Hardy | UNOde50 Bracelet
2nd Image: Suit, Shirt, and Tie by Emporio Armani | Shoes by Pierre Hardy
3rd Image: Vest and Trousers by J.W. Anderson | Shirt by Gucci | Sneakers by Converse | 001 Watch by Tom Ford
4th Image: Jacket and Shirt by Saint Laurent
[Photo Credit: Melodie McDaniel/Esquire Magazine]