Ryan Coogler is opening up filming Black Panther 2 without the film’s king, Chadwick Boseman. Coogler called it “the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my professional life,” during an appearance on Jemele Hill’s Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast Tuesday.
“One thing that I’ve learned in my short or long time on this Earth is that it’s very difficult to have perspective on something while you’re going through it,” the 34-year-old director revealed. “This is one of the more profound things that I’ve gone through in my life, having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who is like the glue who held it together.”
He continued, “I’m trying to find a work-life balance. But I’m not there yet, so this is without a question the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my professional life.”
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Coogler admitted that he’s still mourning the loss of his friend and colleague, but much like those who have died in Wakanda, the director sees Boseman as an ancestor he had the privilege of knowing.
“I’m incredibly sad to lose him but I’m also incredibly motivated that I got to spend time with him,” he said. “You spend your life hearing about people like him. For this individual, who is an ancestor now, I was there for it. It’s such an incredible privilege that fills you up as much as it knocks you out. So often as Black people, we have to pick up the pieces after loss.”
Last August, shortly after Boseman’s death, Coogler shared a moving tribute to the late actor.
“He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was,” the director wrote, describing Boseman as someone who “deeply valued his privacy,” but also “was an epic firework display.”
He went on to say that he felt “broken” knowing that he wouldn’t get the chance to direct Boseman in the film’s sequel.
“I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take,” he said.
In addition to Black Panther 2, Coogler is developing a Wakanda-based series for Disney+.
“It’s an honor to be partnering with The Walt Disney Company. Working with them on Black Panther was a dream come true,” he said in a statement released last month. “As avid consumers of television, we couldn’t be happier to be launching our television business with Bob Iger, Dana Walden and all the amazing studios under the Disney umbrella. We look forward to learning, growing, and building a relationship with audiences all over the world through the Disney platforms.”
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