Michael B. Jordan played the villain, Erik Killmonger, in the 2018 superhero smash hit Black Panther. The movie is based on popular series from Marvel Comics and tells the story of T’Challa, who ascends the throne to become king of Wakanda after the death of his father. His right to the throne is challenged by Killmonger, who believes he is the rightful king of Wakanda and seeks to undo the country’s isolationist policies in order to start a global revolution.
The film was a huge success and shattered box office records during its opening weekend in February. Jordan’s performance received widespread acclaim and even inspired a viral hashtag in support of the character’s ideology. But getting into the mindset of a villain was no easy task for the actor, and he has recently opened up about how playing the role affected his mental health, according to a report from the Business Insider.
While appearing on an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Jordan said he thought transitioning back to his normal life would have been simple, but the role had an intense and lasting effect on him.
“I found myself kind of in the routine of being isolated and went out of my way to make sure I was by myself and didn’t say too much more than the usual,” he said. “Once I got finished wrapping the movie, it took me some time to talk through how I was feeling and why I was feeling so sad and like a little bit depressed.”
The actor said he sought professional help, and his therapist helped him over the course of a month to move beyond his depression. His therapist recommended that he started spending time with his family and friends and work on being more present in those moments.
“Not just being in the room, but being present and engaging,” he reiterated. “And just talking things out that I never really kind of talked through.”
In order to prepare for the role, Jordan said he kept journals for the character, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” he said.
The actor is currently making the promotional rounds for his new film, Creed II, which also stars Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson.
Fans can catch Creed II in theaters now.