“There has to be a sense of what the angst of the city is,” says Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. The actor contemplates the ingredients that make up a successful depiction of New York City while joining me to discuss his new film “21 Bridges” for Episode 13 of The Fourth Wall over a cappuccino.
“We don’t get to feel the pedestrian level of New York because [’21 Bridges’ is] moving too fast for that, but you need to feel the pressure, that intensity,” he added. “When a crisis happens in New York, it’s a bigger thing. But I want to do some other New York movie’s where it’s all about the food [laughs]. Like, ‘that’s my spot on Washington and Brooklyn, right by the park.’ Like you want to feel that, but this movie is about movement.”
Boseman is no stranger to life in the concrete jungle, having spent several years living in Brooklyn before moving out to Los Angeles. As he discussed evoking the authenticity of New York, I could tell he had a sincere reverence for the city. It’s precisely this reverence that led him to studiously examine life as an NYPD cop to deliver an honest portrayal.
Not many performers consistently commit to every role in the way Boseman does. One need not look further than his portrayals of Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and T’Challa to get a sense of Boseman’s dedication to truthful performances. While all daunting tasks, Boseman manages to embrace each challenge often going above and beyond what is required of him, and it’s evident in his work. What’s even more fascinating, however, is the actor may have been destined to play these characters, specifically T’Challa.
“I felt that there was a need to see, in the Ancestral Realm, my ancestors as Panthers,” explains Boseman. “In addition to that, I’d been seeing it for a long time before the role ever came up, and before I ever even read the comic book, I’ve always seen these cats. Even in my dreams and from the time I was a little boy. It’s a thing for me; it’s an actual part of my makeup.”
During our conversation, we also discussed the creative differences between biopics and original works, the original concept for “21 Bridges” and how he helped change that, “Black Panther 2,” what we can expect from Spike Lee‘s “Da 5 Bloods,” and more.
The Russo Brothers-produced “21 Bridges” hits theaters this Friday, November 22.
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