Exclusive Interview with Producer Nate Moore
During our recent Infinity War Event, we had a chance to sit with Black Panther Producer Nate Moore to talk about what we can expect from the Black Panther BluRay/Digital Release and a few more behind the scenes facts about the making of the film and bringing this tremendous blockbuster come to life!
How did the cast of Black Panther come together?
Nate: It was a really combination of three things. We inherited some cast. So, Chadwick was obviously in Civil War. Andy Serkis had been in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Martin Freeman had been in Civil War. When we hired Ryan, one of the first things he said was I would love to find a role for Michael B Jordan because they had done Fruitvale and Creed together. And so, he became Killmonger. Ryan suggested Lupita which was an easy sell. Ryan suggested Danai, which was an easy sell. We collectively went out to Angela Bassett thinking there’s no way she’s going to do this movie because… man, she’s so fantastic. And she was game.
Then the two, Daniel Kaluuya was a Ryan Coogler idea. And then two people we found together Letitia Wright as Shuri and Winston Duke as M’Baku. So, we did a pretty wide-ranging casting search for them. M’Baku was great because none of us had really ever encountered Winston before and his size and his presence was just so dynamic even on tapes in a room reading against nobody, he was fantastic.
Then Shuri (Letitia Wright)…We ended up doing two rounds with other actresses and reading with Chad and it was really about chemistry with Chadwick. And it was true on the day and it’s still true, Letitia was one of the few people who could actually get Chad to laugh naturally because Chad is a very reserved person. But in the audition, it was like…oh, that’s his sister! And even on set, she’s one of the few people that he actually relaxes around and she so fantastic.
Did Stan Lee suggest his own cameo in this?
Nate: No, we write it for him and we pitch it to him. I will say this, our crews tend to have worked on a lot of Marvel films and have worked on big films around the world. The only time anybody gets star struck is when Stan comes to set. He’s the only one. He does and he’s the only one that people want to take pictures with and want to get autographs with and he’s game for everything. So, this is my third film with Marvel and Stan in Civil War for instance was the FedEx guy. In this movie, we had this idea that he could be a gambler because we really wanted it, again, to feel seamless and be part of the scene and he was game.
Any crazy ideas that come from pre-production you can remember?
Nate: The rhinos were a pre-production idea. I want to say either our stunt coordinator or our production designer pitched it and Ryan loved it. And then we actually had in our production office, a giant cut out of how big we thought the rhino would be and we had different sizes. Because we wanted it to be imposing and cool but we didn’t want it to be sort of prehistoric and outlandish.
Then we had to figure out how to execute it because it’s hitting people on screen obviously, we didn’t have a rhino so we had to build different bucks that could interact with stunt people which was funny because sometimes it would be a golf cart with a little rhino horn tied to it and then someone would have to dive out of the way. You have to come up with all these tricks. When the rhino licks her face, we had essentially a with a little tongue so her cheek would move so it would look real. But you’d have to come up with all these clever ways to make the rhino come to life.
What can we expect from the BluRay version of Black Panther?
“The Warriors Within” is another very important feature highlighting the women of Wakanda and the actresses
who portray them. Viewers get some great insight as to how the production team brought these female characters we love – Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, and Queen Mother – to life.
“Hidden Kingdom Revealed” goes into how they crafted the different tribes that make up Wakanda. According to Nate, “One of our big sort of remits very early on was making sure Wakanda felt as authentic as possible for being this fictional African nation. You’ll get to see some of the real-life reference that we used to make sure that Wakanda feels like a place you could actually visit. ”
Nate Moore: You’ll get deleted scenes. You’ll get director commentary. We did an interesting thing which we’ve never done before and we might try again where we did a roundtable with some of the actual writers of the comic. So, to hear from the people who create the character, Don McGregor who did a run in Jungle Action, Christopher Priest who did sort of a seminal run in the ‘90s and then Ta-Nehisi Coates is doing the run now with Ryan and Joe Robert Cole who co-wrote the movie. To sort of hear what they thought worked and didn’t and things that they found challenging about the character when they were writing, it was sort of interesting to see how through different eras the character was handled and different challenges they faced because of audience expectation and market expectation.
How do you decide which stories to tell in the bonus features?
Nate: We have a brainstorming session where people get to pitch out ideas of what they think is interesting and also what footage we have that we can show. The typical ones like deleted scenes and gag reels – we know we’re going to do so we are collecting that footage all through production and post-production. Then, once we kind of get a sense of what people are responding to, we can craft our features based on that. And this movie just happened to have a lot of really in-depth stuff because the building of Wakanda was so complicated. We had a lot of stories to tell from this one.
For instance, there’s a great scene in the deleted scenes between Okoye and W’Kabi, and it’s after Killmonger has taken the throne and it’s there are sort of differing points of view as to what side to take. Danai Gurira and Daniel Kaluuya do a fantastic job in it. And we kept it in every cut of the movie through testing because we thought it was so important for people to understand the relationship…And because it seemed so good frankly. When we pulled it, we found that audiences understood just as well but the pace issue we had for that part of the movie when away. People got really frustrated in waiting for T’Challa to come back so, the shorter we made that area, the better it played.
Even though Ryan Coogler and I were the last ones fighting to keep it in, ultimately, we couldn’t make a good argument. So, the deleted scenes that are in the film are all scenes that people loved but ultimately when we removed it, it actually helped the movie play better.
Any other deleted scenes you really hesitated taking out?
Nate: There’s a really fun scene that used to live at the end of the movie with T’Challa and Everett Ross before he makes the speech at the UN. It was a really fun scene and sort of was a good last interaction between those two. But again, it all starts with the pace and sort of what feels right and what audiences will sort of sit through. So, unfortunately, we had to cut it.
BONUS MATERIAL (may vary by retailer):
- Director’s Intro
- From Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion – Delve into the film’s making
- Crowning of a New King – Explore the world of “Black Panther” in all its color and complexity
- The Warriors Within – Get to know Wakanda’s women and the actors who portray them
- The Hidden Kingdom Revealed – Wakanda’s diverse people
- Wakanda Revealed: Exploring the Technology
- Deleted Scenes
- U.N. Meet and Greet
- Okoye And W’Kabi Discuss the Future of Wakanda
- T’Challa Remembers His Father
- Voices from the Past
- Gag Reel
- Exclusive Sneak Peek at “Ant-Man and The Wasp”
- Marvel Studios the First Ten Years: Connecting the Universe
- Director’s Commentary
o In World Wakanda Tourism Ads
- Come to Wakanda “Before”
- Come to Wakanda “After”