Playing Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan not only successfully pulls off one of the best performances of his career, but he also went through an impressive transformation. More than just becoming incredibly strong in order to look like a legitimate threat to the titular hero, when the character removes his shirt he reveals a remarkable number of self-inflicted scars -- each one representing a kill from his past mercenary work. It's a stunning look, and as I recently learned from Jordan, quite the intense makeup process:
It took a few hours - we did prosthetics. So in the morning I would come in and get those put on, and then at night... it's like glue. They glue, and put 'em on, and a sealer and a whole bunch of other stuff. And they would put me in a sauna to kind of help sweat it all off at night. So it was a long process, but it was definitely worth it.
There was plenty to discuss with Michael B. Jordan about Erik Killmonger when I sat down with him a couple weeks ago during the Black Panther Los Angeles press days, and that included a quick chat about his time in the makeup chair for the movie. As you might expect, it took hours and hours of application, with all of the scars individually glued on to his body. From there, they would be covered with a sealant that would help them stick -- which surely must be the most important part. With the amount of action Killmonger is involved in, you'd think that the scars would be popping off every second during shooting, but clearly the design team was on top of things and made sure it all looked as perfect as possible.
As we learned a few weeks back, Black Panther introduces Erik Killmonger as an American-born blck-ops soldier who has traveled around the world hired to end revolutions, destabilize governments, and generally cause chaos. He sets his sights on Wakanda during the events of the film, but also always carries his past with him. When I asked Michael B. Jordan about the precise number of scars that Killmonger wears, a.k.a. the number of people that he has personally killed, the actor couldn't give me a precise number, but offered that it was somewhere around 2,200 -- making him one of the world's most prolific murderers.
You can watch Michael B. Jordan discuss the intense makeup process on Black Panther -- and the much more relaxing system for getting all the scars off -- by clicking play on the video below.
Fans have had a chance to glimpse Michael B. Jordan's scars in brief clips from the Black Panther trailers, but soon all will be able to see them up on the big screen. The eighteenth film from Marvel Studios arrives in theaters this Friday, February 16th -- and we'll have plenty more coverage of the film coming your way in the coming weeks here on CinemaBlend!