“As soon as I came to L.A., things immediately shifted for me.” – Chadwick Boseman
You may have heard that a little film titled Black Panther has been making piles of money after receiving near-universal acclaim from critics and audiences. The Marvel Studios release has been praised for already becoming the highest-grossing superhero film starring a black hero. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman spoke about his pride in playing the superhero and how he refocused his career over the last few years.
Boseman reveals that one of his goals as an actor is to play meaningful roles — and to change how black characters are portrayed in entertainment. He says, “The projects that I end up doing, that I want to be involved with in any way, have always been projects that will be impactful, for the most part, to my people — to black people. To see black people in ways which you have not seen them before. So Black Panther was on my radar, and in my dreams.”
When he initially met with the Marvel Studios team, Boseman admits he was happy — but surprised — to see that one of the executive producers, Nate Moore, is black. He explains, “I went in and I met with them — and I saw that Nate was black [laughing], which was important because as a minority you can have this viewpoint of how it looks inside the corporation and inside the building, this view that it’s a table full of white men, because we’ve had to deal with tables full of white men a lot. To walk in there and see that there were women and that one of the shot-callers was black made me feel more comfortable with what was going on.”
Boseman is coming off a remarkable string of successful film roles, including 42, Get on Up, Captain America: Civil War, Marshall, and now Black Panther. He credits his move from New York to Los Angeles with changing his career from a theater-focused one to a film-focused one. He says, “As soon as I came to L.A., things immediately shifted for me. I was now actually here with the people who were making the decisions; I wasn’t out in New York sending in tapes to L.A.”
So how did Boseman become such a big success as an actor in recent years? He began looking at his career as a throughline to improve. He explains, “At a certain point, once you realize what this is, you want to spend your time doing things that will be worth it. And it hasn’t been worth it to me to just pick something for the money, or just because it was comfortable or because it was a sure thing. [Given] the time spent doing a film and researching it, you’re going to come out a different person on the other side — especially if it’s a challenge to you. It’s always been, ‘What is this going to do to make me better?’ And that’s the throughline.”