Michael B. Jordan played one of the most memorable roles in Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster film, Black Panther. Cast as Erik Killmonger, the warrior outcast who returned to Wakanda to claim the throne, Jordan dazzled viewers with his convincing onscreen performance. Jordan’s performance in the film helped make Black Panther one of the most successful films of all time, grossing over $1 billion at the box office.
Despite the immense success of the film and the acclaim Jordan received, it came at a cost. The extreme physical and mental preparation that went into the role took a toll on Jordan, especially his mind. Due to the reclusive nature of Killmonger, Jordan had to isolate himself extensively to get into the proper mindset for the role, which had lasting effects on him.
Michael B. Jordan isolated himself to get into Killmonger’s mindset
Erik Killmonger was one of the most popular characters in Black Panther. Cold and uncaring, Killmonger was a ruthless warrior determined to take the throne from King T’Challa and make Wakanda the most powerful nation in the world. Born and raised in Oakland, California, Killmonger was separated from Wakandan culture and had dealt with serious identity issues growing up. Over time, he learned his history and decided to take vengeance on the nation that had bastardized him, desiring to use its technology to help Black people worldwide.
In order to better relate to the character, Jordan took the method approach and decided to isolate himself from friends, family, and cast members while Black Panther was in production. During a red carpet interview with Metro.co.uk, he explained his thought process behind the preparation, stating: “I spent a lot of time alone. Erik’s a very lonely guy, a very pained character so that’s part of it.’
According to IndieWire, he went into greater detail about the preparation for Black Panther during one of Oprah Winfrey’s “SuperSoul Conversations”.
“I figured Erik [Killmonger], his childhood growing up was pretty lonely,” said the actor. “He didn’t have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn’t exist.”
The “Killmonger” role had lasting effects on Jordan
Jordan’s performance in Black Panther is one of the high points of the film and received critical acclaim. However, having spent so much time in solitude had a major impact on Jordan mentally and emotionally, as he had grown accustomed to being by himself. According to Jordan, he had started to “shut out love”.
“It was a little tough for me at first,” Jordan said. “Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out. I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could.”
Jordan later explained that he began going to therapy for support.
“Your mind is so powerful,” he stated. “Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before. Honestly, therapy, just talking to somebody just helped me out a lot. As a man you get a lot of slack for it. I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.
Jordan’s performance in Black Panther is not one we will soon forget. Thankfully, Jordan was able to overcome the difficulties he faced after starring in the film.