Villains And Victors: Exclusive Interview With #BlackPanther’s Andy Serkis And Winston Duke

As a child, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.  You know the Lynda Carter version of Wonder Woman from the television series filmed in the late 70’s?  Yes, I wanted to be her.  I would pretend to fight the evil villain (my brother) using my special powers, “wham-bam” rhetoric, a magic lasso of truth, and wrist band shields to protect me from bullets and darts.  Those memories are so vivid in my mind.  I remember wanting to be Wonder Woman not to be famous but to make a difference – she always seemed to save the day, to beat the bad guy.


Today, my hope is to be an example of the wonder of a woman. To be the strong woman that my husband married and the powerful, passionate, and loving woman that my son needs to see and me to be.  What I loved about my interview with Winston Duke (M.Baku) and Andy Serkis (Klaw) is it reminded me that we get to decide if we are going to be a villain or a victor in our own life.


Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

There they sat as opposite as they could be, sharing their thoughts about their characters, overall BLACK PANTHER movie experiences, and feelings about working with Ryan Coogler.  It was interesting and fantastic at the same time.  Their perspectives were vastly different but equally powerful.  When asked, tell us what it’s like to bring to life these crazy characters that people want to root against on screen?  Andy said a few things that really stuck with me.  He said,

”I mean the thing is it is great fun being able to dip into the dark side, because it’s in a safe environment.  And we work in the world of story where you’re allowed to do that.  But you kind of want to make that character live and be human, I wanted to make him strangely someone you might like to hang out with.”

In a safe environment, it’s okay to be a villain…it’s fun to dip into the dark side.  When you do that, you are living and being human. You should even have friends and hang out.  It’s just that easy for us to get comfortable being a villain in our own life.  Our pain, problems, and often perspective causes us to accept persecution and not the promise.  Klaw allowed his pain to make him a villain.  And guess what, pain does not discriminate. Pain is the same and if we don’t decide our path, our pain will decide it for us. And that decision starts in the “safe environment” of our mind first. We must be careful not to let ill thoughts, past hurts, and underserved pain contaminate our hearts and mind and make us live as villain.


Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

As moms, it’s important that we recognize and examine our lives to ensure that we aren’t villains in private and victors in public (or vice versa) in order to authentically teach our children.  We need to be armed with good examples to help them make the decisions for themselves.  For example, we asked Winston about the decision that his character made to bring resolve to the community. He said,

You use all these isms and put them on people.  So how do you shape that and what does it look like.  M’Baku’s question is, do we stay here, in these mountains and protect ourselves, and what kind of world are we creating by doing that.  Because we also have to live in it.  So, I think it’s he’s grappling with the larger questions himself, because he’s realizing I’m part of this big world.

That’s it! We must ask ourselves the question “if we don’t become who we were created to be, what kind of world are we creating for our children – and would we want to live in it.”  I was told once that obstacles are really treasures themselves. Once we shine our light on the truth of who we are “victors” we can slowly begin the transformation and make the decision to challenge our thinking and change our lives.  M’Baku decided to deal with his pain differently, he allowed his pain to fuel his faith to make a difference in spite of.  In life we too will have to make similar decisions, decide to become who we desire to be.


Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Once we have watched our heroes, superheroes like Wonder Woman or BLACK PANTHER block bullets with a wrist band or body suit; or natural heroes like a parent, grandparent or Martin Luther King, Jr. give their all to pave a better way for us. I hope we are inspired to honor their contribution as a blue print for us to find our super power within to live victoriously and not let the pain, shame, and mishaps of our lives cause us to become exactly what we’ve always wanted to defeat – the villain.



Both Andy and Winston spoke highly of Ryan Coogler which did not surprise me at all.  Andy said, Ryan what was so great about Ryan is that he allows us as actors to really play and explore the parts and take it places.  I mean I’m sure you’ve felt that.” 

Winston added, “And he just trusts you to work and create your world.  And I feel a great opportunity for me with M’Baku, I was given the opportunity to create a new language within that world essentially.  This is my first film, so to feel like I could hold my own and create a space where I felt I had agency as an artist came from Ryan creating a safe space.


We must decide if we are going to be a villain or victor.  We also must decide who’s starring in our movie.  Who do we trust as director? Are you surrounded by people that allow you to be the best version of yourself or are they trying to dumb you down? 

Having the right support system can be the difference of you becoming a villain or victor. Andy and Winston were cast to be villains, they were role playing.  You and I…well this is real life.  We get an opportunity to learn from M’Baku and Klaw so that we move forward being our own version of a superhero.  

Are you ready to see BLACK PANTHER? It will be in U.S. theatres everywhere on February 16th.  I encourage you to go check it out – and take your family.  I’m confident you will be empowered to be a victor. Someone who celebrates themselves, others and life.




P.S. I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles courtesy of Disney to attend the #BlackPantherEvent & ABCTVEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.

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  1. Having Andy Serkis as one of the casts makes it more exciting. He is such a good actor. Hi previous roles marked him so. Can’t wait to see this movie.

  2. I am so happy we were in the same room together! I love Winston and I seen Black Panther 4x, M’Baku is officially my favorite!!!

  3. Such an interesting interview and nice experience for you. It’s nice to reflect it on our daily lives as well. Choosing to be a villain or a victor of our own lives. I have heard that Black Panther is indeed a must watch movie.

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