Playing Erik Killmonger in the 2018 blockbuster film Black Panther took a lot out of Michael B. Jordan, so much so, he says he went to therapy after filming wrapped. The famed actor had to distance himself from other people to get into character, as Killmonger is an orphan, abandoned by the uncle who killed his father. During a taping of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Jordan talked about the toll it all took on him mentally.
“I was by myself, isolating myself…I spent a lot of time alone,” he said, according to USA Today. “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.”
As Killmonger was raised in Oakland, California, Jordan also told Winfrey he had to tap into all the rage associated with being a Black man in America. “Of course it’s an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African-American perspective” he said of the award-winning film, “…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.”
But, as Jordan dove deeper into Killmonger’s character, he admits he didn’t have an “escape plan” and found it tough to get back to being himself when filming was over. “When it was all over, I think just being in that kind of mind state…it caught up with me,” he told Oprah. “Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out. I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could,” he added.
Jordan says going to therapy has helped him out a lot. “Your mind is so powerful. Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before,” he 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.”
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations will air February 16 at 8 p.m. ET on OWN. Tune in. In the meantime, peep a few pics from their conversation above.