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Last year, Michael B. Jordan brought the house down as Killmonger in the smash-hit movie Black Panther. Jordan received tons of praise for his portrayal of the villain, who quickly rose the ranks as one of the best MCU villains ever. However, it turns out playing that emotionally hardened role really took a toll on the actor. He recently said that after he completed filming, he was still in a dark space and needed the help of therapy to move past the role.
I was by myself, isolating myself. I spent a lot of time alone. I figured Erik [Killmonger], his childhood growing up was pretty lonely. He didn't have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn't exist.
As Black Panther fans well remember, Erik Killmonger is the cousin of T'Challa. Erik was left orphaned and abandoned after his father was killed by his uncle, King T'Chaka. Erik learned about Wakanda from his father and spent his whole life acquiring the skills he would need to one day enter the country and steal the throne. That's a fairly abridged version of Killmonger's motives, which were some of the most complex of any MCU villain.
It got to the point where the actor needed to get some professional help to get past and understand the emotions that he was feeling. Michael B. Jordan told Oprah Winfrey during her SuperSoul Conversations TV Special (via USA Today) that he went to therapy for help. To prepare for the role, Jordan isolated himself because Killmonger had a lonely life, but even after filming wrapped, he found that he was still doing that.
I didn't have a “process" for being Killmonger. I just did whatever I felt I needed to do or whatever I felt was right in the moment every step of the way. [However], I didn't have an escape plan, either. When it was all over, I think just being in that kind of mind state … it caught up with me.
After the movie was over, Michael B. Jordan said that he had to "readjust" to people caring about him and that therapy was "a lot of help." It's good to hear that Jordan was able get over that particular hump. Black Panther became the first superhero film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and at least part of that has to be due to Jordan's performance. He obviously did a great job, but nothing is really worth it if it affects your mental health.
At least Michael B. Jordan may not have to enter that Killmonger headspace again soon. That's the benefit of your character dying, so he can just sit in the audience and enjoy Black Panther 2 like the rest of us. However, there are rumors that he could be involved in the sequel anyway. As we wait for that to be confirmed or denied, keep CinemaBlend's 2019 movie schedule handy for updates on everything ahead.