Despite only having helmed three full-length movies, Ryan Coogler has established a track record for inspiring actors to give heartfelt, genuine performances. With the 2015 film “Creed,” he helped Sylvester Stallone earn an Academy Award nomination. With the 2018 film “Black Panther,” he established Chadwick Boseman as a star. In the 2013 film “Fruitvale Station,” Michael B. Jordan gave one of his most compelling performances.
Sadly, following the actor’s passing in 2020, Coogler was forced to direct “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” without Boseman. Now, the follow-up serves as both a tribute to Boseman and his persona and a significant expansion of the Wakandan universe. The MCU now has its own big-screen Aquaman rival thanks to Namor (Tenoch Huerta), a character who was first introduced to the world in the comics in 1939, years before Aquaman made his debut on DC. There will undoubtedly be many water-related scenes in the film because of the Marvel character, but Coogler had a dilemma. He didn’t know how to swim, but he liked to be close to his actors.
In an interview promoting “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Coogler discussed his swimming problem and the importance of being thrown into the deep end with his actors.
The Closer Ryan Coogler Can Get to His Actors, the Better!
Ryan Coogler asserts that he must be present wherever the camera is at all times. I had to learn how to swim in order to be able to direct this movie because “if the camera’s in the water, actors are in the water, I’ve got to be in there too,” the director said to Variety. Before the film, Coogler claimed he had little swimming experience, and he wasn’t the only one. The actress who plays Queen Ramonda, Angela Bassett, admitted in the same Variety article that she could only partially swim prior to the start of filming.
She explained that Black girls “have this history with water and their hair. Some of us can’t swim all that well, because it’s going to mess up that press and curl. It’s a whole thing.”
Learning to swim also demonstrated Coogler’s capacity to match the vigour of his actors. Bassett claims that the director made clear to her how crucial Queen Ramonda is following T’Challa’s passing.
He was just throwing all of this at me, she said, adding, “Can you swim? Can you put your head in the water? She had to be strong. She had to be a mother. She had to be a leader.”
Bassett and Coogler are actually in good company because Namor, the underwater king, couldn’t swim.
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Tenoch Huerta, who plays the underwater king in Namor, had to acquire swimming skills.
Before “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” filming started, Tenoch Huerta, who plays Namor, was in a similar situation to his director. The actor had more motivation to learn how to doggy paddle than Ryan Coogler did, considering how much his character would need to get wet.
According to Entertainment Weekly, when asked about his swimming prowess before the start of filming, the actor recalled telling Coogler, “I’ve never drowned before.” Huerta had to take lessons to get ready for his role as Marvel’s underwater king despite having previously appeared in notable films like “The Forever Purge” and “Narcos: Mexico.
” Along with the rest of the cast, he also participated in breath training, according to EW. Huerta’s Namor, also known as the Sub-Mariner, is Wakanda’s enemy in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but he shares a lot of traits with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, including being a leader who fights to defend their families and communities.
“He isn’t selfish, which is possibly the most significant character twist.
He is managing a neighborhood. He doesn’t value autonomy. He is a member of a tribe, “Added Huerta.