Back in November, Michael B. Jordan, the actor best known for playing Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, opened up about needing therapy after making the movie. This week, Jordan spoke with Oprah Winfrey and went into more detail about his mental health journey.
According to Yahoo Entertainment, the actor opened up to Oprah while taping SuperSoul Conversations, Winfrey’s new TV special.
“I went to therapy, I started talking to people, starting unpacking a little bit,” he said.
Winfrey asked where Jordan got “all that nastiness” from and the actor confessed that it came from “isolating” himself.
“I spent a lot of time alone,” he explained. “I figured Erik, 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.”
“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 … that was something I didn’t take lightly,” he said.
“I didn’t have a process for being Killmonger,” he added, “I just did whatever I felt I needed to do or whatever I felt was right in the moment every step of the way.”
The experience of getting into that kind of character certainly sounds taxing, and the actor admitted he didn’t have an “escape plan,” so acclimating back to normal life was “tough” at first.
“Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out,” he added. “I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could.”
It’s no surprise the actor decided to speak to someone about what sounds like an intense emotional experience.
“When it was all over, I think just being in that kind of mind state … it caught up with me,” he said.
“I went to therapy, I started talking to people, starting unpacking a little bit,” he explained.
Luckily, Jordan said the therapy helped him out “a lot” and many fans are grateful that he’s been so open about the experience, especially since there’s an unfortunate social stigma around men seeking help for their mental health.
“Your mind is so powerful. Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before,” Jordan said. “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.”
While we wish the process would have been easier for Jordan, we are incredibly grateful for the dynamic performance he gave. In fact, Comicbook.com awarded Jordan’s performance two separate 2018 Golden Issue Awards at the end of last year. One for Best Actor and one for Best First Appearance.
Jordan’s peers in the Screen Actor’s Guild obviously saw the importance of the performance, too, because the actor and his fellow castmates just won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards.
Black Panther is also up for seven Academy Awards, which include Best Picture, Best Original Music Score, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Song, and Best Production Design.
Black Panther is currently streaming on Netflix. SuperSoul Conversations airs February 16th on OWN at 8pm EST.