When you have the perfect pairing of actor and role, the result is magical. But sometimes the actor's process and the nature of the role itself can take a major toll. That seems to have been the case with actor Michael B. Jordan and his role as Killmonger in Black Panther. The actor was kind of messed up and seriously depressed after filming, as he explained:
It sounds like playing Killmonger had a profound effect on the actor, and it got him into a funk that took a while to shake. Michael B. Jordan usually plays the protagonist, and as he told Bill Simmons on The Ringer's The Bill Simmons Podcast, he had never been in a role like Killmonger for as long as he was. So Jordan wasn't entirely prepared for how it would stay with him.
Every actor has his or her own process, but for Michael B. Jordan, he felt that he had to go to a dark place to achieve the emotionality of Killmonger's character. That process resulted in an iconic villain performance, but it was also something that stayed with the actor after filming was wrapped, resulting in him sad and depressed.
Michael B. Jordan thought that by finishing the movie, getting back to normal life, and cutting his hair would allow him to step out of the darkness that playing Killmonger required. But it wasn't that simple. The outcast Wakandan was full of pain and anger and to play that, Michael B. Jordan had to feel-- and those aren't emotions you can just turn off with the flip of a switch.
Fortunately, Michael B. Jordan was eventually able to get out of that depressing Killmonger mindset. When asked how long it took, he responded:
For Michael B. Jordan, it seems that just being back in his regular life wasn't enough, he had to make a conscious effort to engage with friends and family and talk things out in order to force the Killmonger out of him. The actor also told Bill Simmons that he talked to a therapist a few times to help get him through it.
Actors like Michael B. Jordan who takes a more method approach, getting emotionally into the headspace of their character. And for Jordan's villainous Killmonger, it took a toll. Killmonger was a villain, but he was also someone in a great deal of pain, who had a justified sense of anger at the inequities in the world and the sins of the past. That's what made him a compelling villain, and Michael B. Jordan's approach to the character delivered on that.
This isn't the first time we have heard about the darkness of a film or a character being an emotionally difficult experience for an actor. It often goes hand in hand with great performances, but you can kind of see why actors like Mr. Method Daniel Day Lewis has chosen to retire.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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