In the latest iteration of Variety’s Directors on Directors series, The Woman King helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood is joined by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler in reflecting on their respective creative journeys and processes.
During the nearly 30-minute conversation, the iconic artists explain the impact each’s filmography had on the other’s work, with Bythewood specifically crediting the success of the first Black Panther film as the way maker for The Woman King to come to fruition.
“I love talking about, not even the success of Black Panther, but what you did with it,” Bythewood said. “How you told the story, and how you infused us and culture and depth, absolutely opened the door for this film. I don’t know that Woman King would be made if you didn’t do what you did with Black Panther.”
Additionally, the Love & Basketball director also applaude Coogler for consistently featuring nuanced portrayals of Black masculinity in his work from his very first film, Fruitvale Station onward.
“The first time we met was when I came to see Fruitvale Station. I don’t like crying in public, but I literally was ugly crying in that,” she explained. “I was so excited to meet you because of what you did with that film and the depth of it. If you look at your body of work, every film that you’ve done has shifted culture. The way that you center Black men and Black masculinity and show it in different ways and go against what so many of us grow up with thinking it should be, that’s a powerful thing.”