Terry Gilliam rips Black Panther: “I think the people who made it have never been to Africa”

Fact check: Director Ryan Coogler and his team did in fact visit Africa prior to making the film

Terry Gilliam Marvel comments quote Black Panther hate
Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and Black Panther

    Terry Gilliam doesn’t think Black Panther is worth the hype. In a recent interview, the former Monty Python member and filmmaker claimed the people behind the Marvel smash “have never been to Africa” and argued that the movie’s ability to give “young black kids” something to believe in is “bullshit.”

    IndieWire sat down with Gilliam to interview him about his new film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. When the subject of Marvel movies came up, he began taking superhero movies at large to task. When asked if he thought Black Panther only received that much hype because of its commitment to “identity politics”, Gilliam replied, “It makes my blood boil.”

    “I hated Black Panther. It makes me crazy. It gives young black kids the idea that this is something to believe in. Bullshit. It’s utter bullshit,” said Gilliam. “I think the people who made it have never been to Africa. They went and got some stylist for some African pattern fabrics and things. But I just I hated that movie, partly because the media were going on about the importance of bullshit.”


    (Read: Top 20 Films of the 2010s by Black Directors)

    Strong feelings and strong claims! But in actuality, the team behind Black Panther team did in fact go to Africa to find inspiration for the film. Coogler brought a crew, including Academy Award-winning production designer Hannah Beachler, to discover and learn about various patterns, details, and history that would be crucial to the movie.

    Maybe Gilliam just hates all superhero movies — he certainly wouldn’t be the first or the biggest name to do so. When asked about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he said the movies take up all of the money that smaller films deserve. Unsurprisingly, there was a bitter overtone to that statement as well.

    (Read: Top 25 Comic Book Movies of the 2010s)

    “You make a film for over $150 million or less than $10 [million]. Where’s all this other stuff? It doesn’t exist anymore,” he argued. “I make films where I’m trying to make people think. I mean, I try to entertain them enough that they don’t fall asleep on me, and they’re there to make you think and look at the world in a different way, hopefully, and consider possibilities. Those films don’t do that.”


    Despite calling comic book blockbusters “technically… brilliant,” he added,

    “Where’s the gravity, where’s real gravity? Because [in superhero movies,] everything is possible. It’s the limitations that make life interesting. Okay, so your suit burns up. So you get another suit because you’re Tony Stark. It’s not enough. They dominate so much.”

    Nobody tell Gilliam about how much money Black Panther made on its opening weekend, its soundtrack that became one of the best albums of 2018, or that it became the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Oh, and definitely don’t tell him Black Panther 2 already has a set release date for 2022.

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