With a performance that rocketed him to the top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe villain's rankings, Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther took the world by storm from his first moment in frame. Naturally, such a role requires a lot of preparation on both the physical and emotional fronts, and it was the latter that presented the greatest challenge for Jordan during the film's production. The actor admitted as much during a recent Breakfast Club interview, as he revealed to the following preparations:
I spent a lot of time away from my family. I didn't really talk to my mom or my dad, you know what I'm saying? Or like, my brothers and sisters. Stuff like that. You know, I worked out a lot; it was a sad place, man, I just kind of stayed to myself. So, the physical aspect, that was the easy part. Mentally, kind of going to that lonely place of willing to do whatever it takes to kind of freeze people, was the more challenging part. But it was a lot of fun, too.
Knowing how close to his family Michael B. Jordan is, the process to create Killmonger's psyche for Black Panther obviously gave the world a different version of the man they've come to know and love since his early performances in films like Fruitvale Station and That Awkward Moment. With his tragic backstory involving both the death of his father and the incarceration / death of his mother leading to a rough and painful childhood, Jordan had to separate himself from those he loved to really cultivate the attitude of going it alone in the world for some time. This process also included keeping a journal for the character's backstory, something that Michael B. Jordan also tends to do for his film roles in the first place, according to his interview on The Breakfast Club radio show.
This isn't to say that the physical component of his work was any less impressive, or grueling, as the work needed to put Jordan into the shape he showed off in Black Panther isn't something that happens overnight. Plus, on top of keeping himself ripped, Michael B. Jordan also had to endure a makeup process that saw him have each of the scars that Killmonger bears for each of his victims glued to him in the morning of any shooting day, only to have to sweat them off at the end of the workday. Put that together with the perfect mindset built through essentially cutting off contact with his family, and you've got the perfect tragic anti-hero in Erik Killmonger.
It's that dedication to his craft that makes Michael B. Jordan one of the most intense actors on the market today, and it's what made his version of one of Wakanda's lost sons all the more intriguing to watch. You can see those results for yourself in Black Panther, which is available on Digital HD right now, with a physical Blu-ray and DVD release coming next week. Order the Digital here.