Cannes Film Fest 2018: Ryan Coogler Opens Up about Black Panther, Inspirations, Favorite James Bond

Ryan Coogler directed the smash hit, Black Panther, the first comic-book movie led by a primarily black cast.  During a conversation at the 2018 Cannes Film Fest on Thursday afternoon, Coogler revealed why it was important to him to break various rules and conventions of mainstream Hollywood tentpoles.

Favorite Section:

Ryan Coogler:  There’s a whole section of the film where T’Challa is out of the movie and you’re just following the women.  It’s the scene where the titular hero (Chadwick Boseman) is left for dead and needs to be rescued. That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie when I watched it, and I didn’t expect that.

RC: That part of the movie you feel like you’re watching something fresh and new. That part of it was exciting.  We have these actresses who could easily carry their own movie–Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright–Some of them have before. We were so fortunate. I would watch a movie with them!”

Spinoff with Women of Black Panther

RC: That would be amazing if the opportunity came up. They did it in the comic-book version.  I think you could argue that the women are more important than the men.

How Marvel Pitched “Black Panther”

RC: They said they wanted ‘Black Panther’ to feel like their James Bond, which I was excited about, because I love James Bond movies. My favorite film in the franchise is “Casino Royale.”

Inspiration: The Godfather

RC: Once we realized the themes we wanted to explore, we watched different films, like “The Godfather,” for its relationship between fathers and sons. Making a film about a guy who lives in a secretive country, his father dies, now he has to step into this position of power. “‘The Godfather’ is one of the greatest films ever made on the same subject matter. I kind of realized the best way for me to look at ‘Black Panther’ is like a crime movie.

Aiming Too High

RC: You’re making a superhero movie. If you want to make it like ‘The Godfather,’ you sound scary. I was worried about people thinking we were aiming too high.

First Trip to Africa

RC: I was in these Disney-approved hotels.  It felt like I was in San Francisco or something. The people who were working there seemed like my kind of people — people loading bags, the bellmen, workers in the kitchen.

Authenticity

RC: We wanted the film to be an African film in all ways.  Wakanda is what we could be. People call it a utopia. Some people call it a dream world or something to shoot for. The idea in Wakanda is everybody is allowed to have their fullest potential realized.

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