‘Black Panther’ Boseman: Family is More Important Than ‘This Superhero Thing’


Chadwick Boseman, the star of the highly anticipated “Black Panther” movie opening February 16, recently said that family is more important than playing a superhero. 

The profile appears in American Way magazine. Derrick Lang writes:

Boseman has found another famous mentor in Robert Downey Jr. Having appeared in eight Marvel films, the veteran actor is basically the godfather of the superhero genre. While showing Boseman the ropes, Downey cautioned him about the unforgiving nature of the Marvel movie machine.  “It is not meant to necessarily take care of you,” Boseman says before pausing, looking for the right way to express himself—or not get into trouble. “You have to take care of yourself.” He says he learned just as much from watching Downey interact with his family on set as he has from any of their conversations. “Family takes care of me, I take care of family, and this superhero thing is part of my life,” he says. “But it’s not my life—and that is key.”

Boseman, 41, is not married, but is very close to his immediately family. In a 2016 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, the actor was joined by his parents Carolyn and Leroy Boseman and noted that he has 41 first cousins on one side of his family and 23 on the other.

Boseman grew up in South Carolina. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and says he was influenced by two types of theater - one learned at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, the other at Howard. Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with bachelor of fine arts in directing. He then spent time in an exchange program at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford.

In an interview in November with Sam Jones for “The Off Camera Show,” Boseman talked about how learning classic theater in England was valuable training, but also essential was his time in the Howard Drama Department learning about black playwrights.

“You as a theater student would be taught Shakespeare and Pinter and Beckett,” Boseman said. “When I went to study in Oxford I studied those things. At Howard you would be pressed to focus on August Wilson, Rob Penny, Susan-Lori Parks, a myriad of black playwrights and writers who essential are writing the Africa-American experience. They are writing what you are actually  going to be doing. Because I’m going to be playing black characters.”

As a result, Boseman said, he had training both in classical theater and the African-American experience as reflected in the theater. “It allows to to learn that experience and be confident in it - you never have to go into the real world and say, they taught me Shakespeare and Pinter and Beckett, but now I’m here I have to bring myself to the table.”

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