Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) produced Fruitvale Station, the critically-acclaimed 2013 film that was written and directed by Ryan Coogler, so he was more than happy to join the cast of Coogler's upcoming Black Panther solo film and be directed by his former protégé.
“I’m excited to do it. I mean I think Ryan’s an amazing filmmaker,” Whitaker said during The Empire Film Podcast (via SR), while promoting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “I’ve got a chance to know him since college, so I’m excited to see what it’s like to be working with him on the other side, not as a producer but as an actor cause that’s how we started with Fruitvale Station.”
Whitaker will portray Zuri, an elder stateman in Wakanda.
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Black Panther has been an important character in the Marvel universe for 50 years. He is the king of the technologically-advanced nation of Wakanda, and Panther has served as a member of the Avengers in addition to his many solo adventures.
The cast features Chadwick Boseman (Captain America: Civil War) as T’Challa/Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) as Erik Killmonger, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) as Okoye, Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Nakia, Angela Bassett (Green Lantern) as Ramonda, T'Challa's mother, and Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Zuri. The cast also includes Daniel Kaluuya (Black Mirror) as W’Kabi, Winston Duke (Person of Interest) as M’Baku, Florence Kasumba (Captain America: Civil War) as Ayo, and Letitia Wright (Doctor Who) as Serita.
The film is being directed and co-written by Creed and Fruitvale Station filmmaker, Ryan Coogler, and production is expected to get underway this January.
Black Panther will slash into theaters on February 16, 2018.