Exclusive: Black Panther 2 star Danai Gurira explains how Ryan Coogler’s collaborative directing style helped the film’s cast explore grief.
Black Panther 2 star Danai Gurira explains how Ryan Coogler’s directing allowed the actors to explore grief through their characters. After the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever underwent script changes to incorporate the loss of T’Challa into the story, while the cast and crew mourned their dear friend during production. The film will reflect this with the people of Wakanda who mourn their leader and protector.
Grief, loss and legacy will be important themes in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with Okoye, Nakia, Queen Ramonda and Shuri facing them throughout the film. With Coogler’s leadership and guidance, the trailers and early reactions to the film make it clear that everyone involved has brought their own feelings into the project, making the characters’ experiences more raw and real. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will tackle not only the loss of T’Challa, but a new threat to the nation in Namor, as well as the emergence of a new Black Panther.
During screen frenzy‘s exclusive interview with Gurira, she talks about Coogler’s collaborative directing style and how it allows the actors to process their own emotions. She describes his style as directing rather than controlling. Gurira explains how Coogler’s understanding of grief and the characters’ emotions was a big part of the process of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Read what Gurira had to say below:
[Ryan]It’s very collaborative, but he also sees the vision very vividly, and he really understood how he explored grief through these characters and how each of them was in a different place with it and reacted to it very differently. He was quite capable of digging deep into that with us.
Someone said, “How did he give instructions?” And he doesn’t give instructions, he’s more of a guide. He feels more like an employee. He guides you into the nuances of the character’s journey in a way that is… just a human journey, understanding humanity in the course of the character. And when he talks, you think, ‘Oh my god, this man is so wise.’ And then you start to see what’s behind what he’s trying to get done. Then the other part of it is that he also allows you to pour in what you feel is really visceral to your character and really makes sense for them to play.
How Ryan Coogler’s directing style takes his films to the next level
It is clear from Gurira’s comments that Coogler explores grief through Black Panther: Wakanda Forever allowed everyone involved in the film to surface their own feelings through storytelling. Coogler found the ability to balance the real sadness everyone felt with that of the characters and the nuances of their stories. Coogler’s directing style of collaborating, directing the story and the performances rather than controlling them, seems to be an integral part of this process and has proved essential in his previous projects as well.
The world doesn’t stop after a big loss, with the characters in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever facing war as they mourn their king. The grieving process is central Black Panther 2 with Coogler pouring his own reality and that of the cast into the story. All things considered, the freedom the cast had to explore their own truths and bring them into their performances could lead to some of the most visceral and heartbreaking storytelling and acting in the MCU to date.
Next: Shuri As The New Black Panther Limits Her Best MCU Future