Marvel’s Inhumans: How Anson Mount Developed Black Bolt’s Communication

Actor Anson Mount

“I tend to be more interested in a character’s weaknesses than I do their strengths and in a comic book/graphic novel space, it’s easy to lose sight of that, you know?” – Anson Mount

Joining the ranks of Marvel TV offerings comes Inhumans. Set to arrive on ABC this Fall, Inhumans will first make its debut in IMAX, introducing audiences to Marvel’s Royal Family. A rather more obscure faction of the Marvel comics than, say, Iron Man or Thor, the Inhumans reside on the moon in the city of Attilan, where the king, Black Bolt, must fight off a coup by Maximus.

Black Bolt, played by Anson Mount, is a strong and silent leader; literally. He cannot speak, or even whisper, because his voice will shatter mountains. Arriving on earth during the first season of Inhumans, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how Black Bolt manages to communicate with regular humans. For Mount, the role of Black Bolt was a rare opportunity:

“Jeph Loeb (head of Marvel TV) came to me with it off the top. He knew me well enough to know what I would geek out on, and I also think I got lucky that they realized this is a hard role to audition. It came in as a conversation. Black Bolt is an amazing character but I have to admit, there’s the tightrope walker side of me that wants to play the lead of the show that can’t speak. When else am I going to get that opportunity? And being 44, when am I going to get another opportunity to play a superhero? If I’m wearing tights, I want to look good in those tights.”

Anxious to prove that Black Bolt is more multi-faceted than many would think a comic book character could be, Mount says he delved deep into the character he was given, in an effort to find out more about the man behind the silent king.

“I’m interested in parts of Black Bolt that as an actor I should be interested in, which is not the icing but the cake, you know? What makes this guy tick? What are his responsibilities? What are his flaws more than anything? I tend to be more interested in a character’s weaknesses than I do their strengths and in a comic book/graphic novel space, it’s easy to lose sight of that, you know?”

And of course, one of those weaknesses is undoubtedly his inability to speak; a real flaw when you’re a stranger on another planet.

“A whisper could blow this building away. I’m creating my own signing system. I can’t even use ASL, because he’s not from here. I have a sign consultant, I’m developing a lexicon as I go, I’m borrowing some of the underlying rules of ASL and what makes it work efficiently.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It creates homework and it creates choreography and it creates getting things into the muscle memory. I have to get it so into my muscle memory because I can’t be thinking about it and acting at the same time. And to get yourself to go from here to here, it’s not easy. But it’s easier than learning Spanish, I’ll give you that.”


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