Journalism in the service of society

Wakanda Forever: Filming without Chadwick Boseman was tough, says Ryan Coogler

In August 2020, the world lost a great humanitarian, performer, and actor, Chadwick Boseman who passed away from complications from colon cancer. 

Boseman left a huge gap in the lives of those who knew him personally and also his fans around the world who saw him up on the big screen as King T’Challa, ruler of Wakanda and the heroic Black Panther.

Honouring him with a sequel, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and Dora Milaje are to fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. 

The movie director Ryan Coogler and some cast members were in Nigeria’s entertainment capital Lagos for the African premiere of this master piece which also promotes the beauty of Africa.

Naijatimes had a brief moment with Ryan Coogler, an American director who found success early in his career. 

He acknowledges that it was tough to film the superhero movie after Chadwick Boseman’s death. “Things don’t get easier without Chadwick, they get harder,” Coogler. 

He speaks on how he was able to pull through.

How did you come up the whole idea for a Black Panther sequel?

I spent a lot of time thinking. A lot of work with my collaborators. Inspiration from books and experiences from a lot of lives lived. It is the fourth year since the first movie. So, this one was personal to all of us.

We came back different people but relationship was same. So, I think it was all of that. You kind of pour in all of that when making a movie. And then we lost Chadwick in between the film and that kind of cut off everything.

How did you pick your characters? What were you looking out for?

A lot of them are coming back from the first film. It was really about how they changed. How can we sort the changes in ways that are dynamic and truthful? How they changed in ways you can believe and adapt.

We had to look for new characters, figure out who they are and how are they in like with the other characters. We know how to reveal more things about them. We do these exercises and a lot of other stuffs and when new actors come, we do it all over in order to take them in for more understanding. Talking to them about the ideas that we had, make sure they understand it all.

How did the death of the Chadwick Boseman affect this movie production?

It affected everything. We all knew him. We all in the group love him and through the process, he meant a lot to all of us.

Even the folks like the movie producers and everyone. Everybody loved Chadwick Boseman. Honestly, it affected everything. It was hard filming without him. It was tough. 

What would you remember him for?

So many things. He was a complicated man in all the best ways. Like everyone else, I remember him for his performances.

I know him like a guy, all the things he used to tell me and share with me. His smile and how serious he was. He was simultaneously the more serious and the most groovy person I’ve ever seen too. He was a really special person.

During the movie what were the challenges you faced and how did you tackle them?

We faced a lot of challenges. A lot of schedule stuffs where we would be forced to reschedule or shut down.

Pandemic was like hell right back. It was a pandemic movie. At some point, someone had COVID and it was the choreographer. He had to go away for two weeks and so we had to pull the schedule up.

And Letitia unfortunately wasn’t okay. She got injured. We had to reschedule for that. We had to shut down for a little bit so she could heal before we get back to work.

So, a lot of things came up but we got it done though, it gets a little harsh but we’ve got a will and it came out okay and every obstacle was rolled away.

How long did it take to shoot the film?

We had like multiple units. Principal photography was 170 days. But we had other units like directing, supervising etc. Time frame is about a year.

Now, you are in Nigeria, do you have plans to feature a Nigerian actor in any of your forthcoming movie?

I’ve been hoping a long time to make a lot of movies. So, it would be beautiful to shoot some someday. I’m still trying to find my way around. I enjoy spending time here, still figuring my way around though.

As a filmmaker, how do you find time to relax?

I am still learning.  I’ve been doing this for a long time now. About 19 years. If I’m not shooting, I like to cook. I’ll bake desserts, make coffee. 

Comments are closed.

Naija Times