Michael B. Jordan has revealed that he kept a diary for his role as Erik Killmonger in director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, in order to keep him in the character's revenge-driven mindset.
The revelation came on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, when he was asked about getting in character for his portrayal of the sympathetic villain. In the film, Killmonger was shut out from his Wakandan lineage thanks to the actions of T'Challa's father, King T'Chaka, which left Killmonger an orphan after his father's murder. This diary served as the "dark" backstory and motivation the ex-mercenary needed to take back Wakanda's throne.
"I write journals for every character that I have, from the earliest memory up until the first page of the script. For me, it just kind of gives you context," Jordan said. "For [Killmonger], his was particularly dark. It was a very sad journal, not having his mom growing up, [being] in and out of the system [in] foster care, foster homes and whatnot."
Jordan emphasized that the journal contained "a lot of dark stuff," driven by that feeling of loss and abandonment. He added that it's "probably not right" to talk about it on television, but maintained that "it was deep and allowed me to go to that place right before a scene. It allowed me to lock in."
Still in theaters, director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther continues to break box office records; the film even managed to resurface in the top five months after its release, thanks to the debut of Avengers: Infinity War. The solo film has grossed almost $690 million in North America and over $645 million overseas for a worldwide total of over $1.3 billion. It’s currently the ninth highest-grossing film of all-time, not adjusted for inflation. Black Panther is available digitally, and on Blu-ray and DVD May 15.