“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 said
Watching Black Panther was an emotional experience for many viewers — and for at least one cast member, being involved in the film was even more intense.
Michael B. Jordan, who played villain Erik Killmonger, told Oprah Winfrey during Tuesday’s taping of her SuperSoul Conversations TV special that he “went to therapy” after the movie finished shooting.
“I started talking to people, starting unpacking a little bit,” the 31-year-old actor said.
When Winfrey asked him “where he got all that nastiness” necessary to bring the role to life, he explained, “I was by myself, isolating myself … I spent a lot of time alone.”
Jordon continued, “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.”
He then talked about the pressure of representing the African American experience in the film.
“Of course it’s an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African American perspective, so to be able to take that kind of pain and rage and all those emotions that Erik kind of represents from being black and brown here in America,” he mused. “That was something I didn’t take lightly.”
Discussing getting into character, he recalled, “I didn’t have a process … I just did whatever I felt I needed to do or whatever I felt was right in the moment every step of the way … [but] I didn’t have an escape plan, either.”
“I think just being in that kind of mind state … it caught up with me,” he continued, adding that after filming was over, “It was a little tough for me at first … Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out.”
Then, after seeking out professional help, which the Creed II star said “helped … a lot,” he realized, “Your mind is so powerful. Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before.”
He continued: “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.”
Black Panther is proving to be one of the films to beat this awards season. The Marvel film took home the statue at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, beating out A Star Is Born, BlacKKKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians. It made history as the first superhero movie to win the award.
Black Panther was also nominated for best drama motion picture and best original score at the Golden Globes, and it’s still up for Best Picture at the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24.
Jordan has previously opened up about seeking a different kind of help.
“Navigating and learning how to deal with this s—, there’s nobody that really helped me,” he told the magazine.
While Jordan didn’t give away what Smith told him, the actor spoke about keeping himself focused more on his work and continuing to build his career.