By Gill Pringle

Continuing in the Marvel universe from Civil War, how does this film feel any different?

It’s a funny way of continuing because it’s such a long interim period, it’s been about two years. So, it’s slightly gearing back up again after that, it doesn’t feel like ‘oh here we are, it’s a week later’, you have to get back into the world. From my point of view there is more to do in this one, so that’s a little bit more layered, which is nice. It’s really good.

Can you speak about your character, is he comical, and where he sits in the film?

He’s not overly comical, no. There are some moments where we have to pick levity and moments of lightness there to be had. I think he plays a part in those. I said to Ryan [Coogler], and I think he absolutely agreed, that I didn’t want to be a nerdy white guy, among a lot of cool black people, because we’ve seen that a million fucking times. It’s just boring; it would just be really dull. There are moments of lightness with him but it’s not as comic as the comics.

Black Panther comics writer Christopher Priest wrote something about the character being based on Chandler Bing…

I guess he has some of that sarcasm, and he is quite dry, but I don’t see him serving a comic function. I hope I’m not talking my way out of being in a comedy. He has moments, because he is a fish out of water in Wakanda, and normally he is a guy who has great authority wherever he is, but now he is hanging with a King and his Wwrriors who he doesn’t have any control over. So that makes the dynamic slightly different, because he is in no position to tell anyone what to do. When he gets to Wakanda, he is flabbergasted in what he finds, because no one in the world knows what is going on there, so he is one of the first to see that. He allows the audience to see partly through his eyes.

How would you describe Wakanda through his eyes?

It’s an incredibly technologically advanced first world country, which no one knows about because it has shut itself off for its own safety and its own existence’s sake. Like a CIA guy would assume, there wouldn’t be much in this central African country that would surprise him, and then he realises that it resembles something 70 years in the future. It’s kind of amazing.

Can you describe Black Panther from the other superheroes, and how he differs?

He’s more catlike. He’s very quiet, he is of royal birth so he carries himself with some sort of regality I guess. He is a man of economy in terms of words he uses, and he is used to being of a very high status. He’s just lost his father, so he is not at the most humorous part of his life. I liked working with Chad [Boseman] because he is very still and very focused.

Can you talk about Ryan Coogler and his style?

He is very enthusiastic and hands on, sort of lives and breathes each take. It’s quite rare at the end of a take where he would say ‘alright go again’; he will often say something to five different people working on that scene. I like him a lot. He is young, and hasn’t directed a lot, but what he has directed has been good. I think he wants to try new things.

You know Benedict Cumberbatch quite well and he is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. How long will it take until we get a reunion?

I can’t see it happening but I’m not in charge. I don’t know if you knew that, but I’m actually not in charge of Marvel. I don’t think that will become a thing.

How do your kids feel about you being part of the Marvel Universe?

Pretty cool. It’s good to do things to impress your kids. Obviously, I try and do things that impress myself before anyone else, but if you can impress your kids that’s always a bonus. This is definitely on their radar.

Did your relationship with comics change after your role? Are you reading more?

I’m not a huge comic person, because I prefer graphic novels. I’ll read them but I’m not encyclopedic by any stretch. I like how Marvel films use the comics as a jumping off point and then they become their own species, it’s a different genre of art. You can’t be too strict on what was on the page a certain amount of years ago; you have to make it your own thing. The films have great source material but have their own structure, making their own universe. I like comics, but I wasn’t in deep as a kid.

You have been involved with some of the biggest franchises, how did the MCU come about?

Kevin Feige rang me. I knew he was going to ring me; it wasn’t like I was in the supermarket. He was very flattering, very persuasive. He is a fan of this sort of stuff and again I like people who are enthusiastic about things. At the end of 2014, that is when it happened. It sounded fun, and because of the amount of actors that are involved, that was good enough for me.

Marvel try and hide spoilers from the audience, and seem to be very secretive. How does it feel as an actor doing this top-secret project?

You’re right, Marvel has become more secretive, but lately that is the currency of everything. Sherlock is super secretive, it’s almost like working for the CIA with every job you do now. You just get used to that sense of ‘I can’t tell anyone’, ‘I can’t take pictures of anything’. That itself isn’t overly fun, but it is deemed necessary. I have been on the receiving end of spoilers, and that’s not fun either. If the price to pay is to shut up and not take any photos, then it’s worth paying, because if you’re spoiling it for others, it’s a pain in the arse. The instant gratification of the Internet is keeping anything a surprise, we like being surprised. These films have tapped into some of our childhoods, and we like to be surprised, so it’s worth trying to maintain that.

Do you avoid social media because of that?

I don’t have a profile in anything for that reason, and also because I don’t want anyone to know what I think of anything, until I choose to say it. If I did blab about anything, my career would be over in about 10 minutes.

So there’s no chance of recruiting you into the Snapchat universe?

They would have more luck flying to the moon.

Black Panther is out on February 15.

  • Laura Trout
    Laura Trout
    2 February 2018 at 6:58 am

    His name is Everett K. Ross, not McGill.

  • lisha
    2 February 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Good interview. Bad title. Honestly i would change it. Read the room.

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