What you see is what you get with Forest Whitaker. He is just as soft spoken, approachable, calm, cool and collected in person as he is on screen as most of the characters he has brilliantly portrayed. It is those same characteristics that make his role as “Zuri”, the spiritual leader of Wakanda, in Marvel’s Black Panther movie perfect for him.

Here’s what Forest Whitaker had to say…

  • He does research to get into character.

“I’m always trying to do all the research….and I start to study the different people and the things that they do and meet different people and get different voices worked on. And then slowly it just comes together. I don’t know if there’s a magic formula. At some point, I can say, the magic formula for me is I just surrender, I just say, okay, this is your space, and let’s make it happen and do it. You know, and I believe and that’s kind of the magic formula I’d want to have.”

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Zuri (Forest Whitaker)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018
  • Filming at Wakanda Falls offered a communal experience.

“…Wakanda Falls was really interesting, because they were playing music, and the drummers would continue to play a lot between the takes. People would start singing and stuff, so it was like, a real communal experience. Even when we weren’t working, a guy would start leading them in song…And it was something unlike any other.”

  • Working on Black Panther was a different experience for him.

“…Every experience is really different. Every movie that I do, most of the time, is different, and then when it starts to get too similar, then I know that there’s something wrong. If I can’t feel a little fear about it, and I don’t feel like I’m going to change or grow from it, then it’s something wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing it. You know. And then I have to examine the reasons why, whether it’s life, or, you know what I mean? [LAUGHS] …”

  • Forest Whitaker feels the role he played in the film was the right one for him.

“I think Ryan cast me right.”

  • When asked about what he does while in town filming, he said that he doesn’t go out much and is basically a hermit while working.
  • He wasn’t on set very long because he was working on a film right before and right after filming for Black Panther.

“…I was working on two other movies, one before and one after, and I just kind of got to come in quickly and do my work, and then I left, so I didn’t get a chance to spend real time. I probably was there the shortest period of anyone…”

  • He hopes people see the film and walk away with the message of helping others, female empowerment, Finding your own voice…those are some of them.

“…that we are our brothers’ keepers, that even in our own comfort, be able to reach out and help others…I think the message of female empowerment, both physically and mentally, and just the power that that expresses…I think there’s other messages, too, you know. Colonialism. And, you know, all of those kinds of things. Finding your own voice. Empowerment, because I think the movie deals with empowerment. Particularly for people of color, but for everyone…Those are some of ’em…”

  • After watching the film, Forest Whitaker said that he was blown away by the film.

“I don’t know if I expected all of the humor, and all the emotion, and all of the messages…I am still trying to process it. I realized that I need to go see the movie a couple of times.”

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Zuri (Forest Whitaker) ..Ph: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Want to know more about Black Panther and its characters? Click on the links below to read my exclusive interviews with:

You should also check out my Black Panther World Premiere Recap, the Black Panther Press Conference Highlights and Fun Facts from the Cast. Oh and my Black Panther Inspired Gift Guide for some really cool products you can collect, enjoy or give as gifts.

You are going to want to go and see Black Panther when it hits theaters on 2/16!

Want to know my thoughts on the movie? Click here to read my spoiler-free Black Panther Movie Review. Long Live The King!