'Black Panther' Stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan on 'Broadening People's Bandwidth'

Chadwick Boseman was just as surprised as anyone when the smash commercial and critical success of “Black Panther” turned into serious Oscar buzz months after its release. “You don’t make a movie that comes out in February,” he said, “and automatically think about awards.” No, you don’t. Since “The Silence of the Lambs” won the Best Picture Oscar after being released on Valentine’s Day 1991, only one other February release has even been nominated for the top award: “Get Out,” which turned the trick last year. And no comic-book movie or Marvel movie has done it in that time, either. But “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, in short order became a critical favorite, a smash hit, a cultural landmark and, yes, a genuine awards contender. Although the film is filled with strong female characters, at heart it is a showdown between Boseman as T’Challa, the leader of the secluded African nation of Wakanda and a man who has special powers as the Black Panther, and Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, T’Challa’s cousin, who was raised in the United States and wants to use Wakanda’s sophisticated weaponry to create a black uprising around the globe. While the two actors have both appeared in previous Marvel movies — Boseman as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War,” Jordan as the Human Torch in “Fantastic Four” — they are better known for a string of exceptional performances in standout dramas: Boseman as Jackie Robinson in “42,” James Brown in “Get on Up” and Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall,” Jordan in the lead roles in Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.” “Black Panther” marks the first time they’ve appeared on screen together — although they did have a close call on an unexpected show many years ago, which we got into in this conversation.