Michael B. Jordan is opening up about the toll playing Erik Killmonger took on his mental health.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of being an actor is getting into the mindset of their characters. Michael has been receiving praise for his portrayal of the Black Panther super villain, but the 31-year-old actor recently revealed he went into a personally dark place along the way to getting there – and that he had to go to therapy after production wrapped.
On Tuesday (February 5), in a taping for Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul Conversations TV special, when the host asked where he went to “get all that nastiness” to play the Marvel super villain, Michael replied: “I was by myself, isolating myself.”
“I spent a lot of time alone,” Michael explained. “I figured Erik [Killmonger], his childhood growing up was pretty lonely. He didn’t have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn’t exist.”
He also said he wanted to do justice to the essence of what Killmonger represents in the movie.
“Of course it’s an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African-American perspective, so to be able to take that kind of pain and rage and all those emotions that Erik kind of represents from being black and brown here in America … that was something I didn’t take lightly,” Michael said.
Despite isolating himself, Michael shared that he “didn’t have a process” for being Killmonger, adding, “I just did whatever I felt I needed to do or whatever I felt was right in the moment every step of the way.”
But going down that rabbit hole had pitfalls he wasn’t prepared for. “I didn’t have an escape plan, either,” he confessed.
“When it was all over, I think just being in that kind of mind state … it caught up with me,” Michael continued.
And, when filming wrapped, he admitted that he found it difficult to get out of his character’s mindset.
“It was a little tough for me at first,” Michael said. “Readjusting to people caring about me, getting that love that I shut out.”
“I shut out love, I didn’t want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could,” he continued.
After deciding to seek help for his mental health, he said that seeing a therapist “helped me out a lot.”
“Your mind is so powerful. Your mind will get your body past a threshold that it would have given up on way before,” Michael shared. “Honestly, therapy, just talking to somebody just helped me out a lot. As a man you get a lot of slack for it. … I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.”