Interview by Sam Ashurst
This week sees the release of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. It’s the superhero stable’s most progressive movie yet as it’s the first Marvel Cinematic Universe entry with a non-white hero in the title, and it features a predominantly black cast.
This is a big move from the people behind the most successful movie franchise and it arrives at the right moment for an increasingly divided America.
Set in the fictional African country of Wakanda, Black Panther is a celebration of a black world outside of America, portraying Africa in a way we don’t often see from mainstream Hollywood. Wakanda is rich, vibrant, and technologically advanced. It’s a far cry from being a “s***hole” country, a term recently attributed to Donald Trump who was said to be talking about African nations.
In a recent interview with Yahoo, Tom Hanks said all movies should work for Trump voters, citing Captain America as an example, and Black Panther stars Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis agree, saying Marvel movies don’t have a political slant either way.
“There’s an awful lot of people who voted Trump,” explains Freeman who plays Black Panther’s ally Everett K. Ross in the film.
“They’re also allowed to go see films! I wouldn’t have it any other way, people should be allowed to go see film. I don’t think [Black Panther] is skewed to pander to anything particularly, other than humanity. Without sounding too grand about it, it’s a very human story. I believe one hundred percent that there will be Trump voters who go and see this and will love it.”
The cast of Black Panther takes a selfie following their Hall H presentation. (Back row) Andy Serkis, director Ryan Coogler, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Winston Duke, Daniel Kaluuya, (front row) Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, and Letitia Wright. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
“It’s not made for them exclusively, but I don’t think it’s made for anyone exclusively. It’s not made for a black audience exclusively. It’s just made to entertain people, and there happen to be more black people in it than white.”
But what could Trump voters, we put to Andy Serkis who plays antagonist Ulysses Klaue, learn from the film?
“Trump voters might enjoy a debate about barriers and immigration,” theorises the Planet of the Apes star.
“Seeing Wakanda… inverted. The fact that it’s set in Wakanda… isolationism doesn’t just happen to America, it happens to countries all around the world. Everyone faces the same problems. These questions aren’t owned by the United States of America.”
Black Panther is in UK cinemas now. Watch a clip below.