Michael B. Jordan revealed last year he spoke with a therapist after wrapping his role as Killmonger in the Marvel tentpole “Black Panther,” but he opened up more about the reasons why during a February 5 taping of Oprah Winfrey’s “SuperSoul Conversations” (via USA Today). Jordan said that in order to get into his character’s mindset he spent a lot of time alone, which made him feel isolated from friends, family, and co-stars at the beginning of filming.
“I figured Erik [Killmonger], his childhood growing up was pretty lonely,” said the actor. “He didn’t have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn’t exist.”
In the film, Killmonger fights to win the throne of Wakanda so that he can use the country’s technological resources to support black people all over the world in the fight against black oppression. “Of course it’s an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African-American perspective,” Jordan explained of his character arc, “so to be able to take that kind of pain and rage and all those emotions that Erik kind of represents from being black and brown here in America…that was something I didn’t take lightly.”
Jordan said the feeling of isolation that he created for the character never left when the cameras stopped rolling. After production on “Black Panther” concluded, he said he struggled with letting friends and family back into his life.
“It was a little tough for me at first,” Jordan said. “Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out. I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could.”
Jordan turned to therapy for support. “Your mind is so powerful,” the actor said. “Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before. Honestly, therapy, just talking to somebody just helped me out a lot. As a man you get a lot of slack for it. I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.”
“Black Panther” recently won the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. The movie has already made history as the first superhero film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, which is one of seven nominations the film received this year. Moviegoers can watch Jordan’s full interview with Oprah Winfrey when “SuperSoul Conversations” airs February 16 at 8pm ET on OWN.