Daniel Kaluuya and Tom Holland got roles in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ and ‘Cherry’, respectively, while working on two different blockbusters.
Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya and Spider-Man hero Tom Holland talked about how they got their roles in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ and ‘Cherry’, respectively in a virtual chat for Variety’s Actors on Actors, presented by Amazon Studios.
Kaluuya said he got approached by director Ryan Coogler during ‘Black Panther’ reshoots. “Ryan Coogler pulled me to the side and was like, ‘We’re making the Fred Hampton film, and we’d love you to play Fred Hampton.’
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“And then they sent me a two-page treatment, and it was one of the best treatments I’ve ever seen, because it was so clear and it knew what it was.
“Then I sat down with Shaka King, the director, in New York, because I was still promoting ‘Get Out.’
“That was probably two years before we started shooting. It was a long process before we got the green light.”
Holland, on the other hand, was in a session for ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ and at the end he was taken aside by the Russo brothers.
They said they wanted to make a movie about a kid who suffers from PTSD and falls into drug addiction and ends up robbing banks, and whether he would be interested.
“When they offered me the job, I was just really excited. And then when I read the script for the first time, I was like, ‘There’s no way I can make this film. I’ll fall apart.
“I can’t hold onto a character like this for so long.’ It was all about preparation, and really setting out the character beats and figuring out how I was going to get from A to B in each section.
“The hardest part was trying to merge the sections, because the character changes so much throughout the film,” Holland said.
Kaluuya then asked Holland about a scene that was difficult for him to watch where Holland holds a needle in a car. He wanted to know how Holland approached getting there.
“We’d finished the drug portion of the movie, and then we had sort of progressed into him falling in love, and then the Russos wrote this sequence of the movie, which is the sequence that you’re talking about,” Holland said.
“We had to revisit going back to his life as a drug addict. I remember sitting in the car, and Joe and Ant sort of came into the window, and they were like, ‘Don’t hold back.
“There’s no such thing as doing too much in this instance.’ And I just went mental, really. I don’t know how else there is to describe it. I beat the crap out of my leg with that needle, which broke every time.
“It wasn’t a real needle – it would retract – but I was always worried that one time it wouldn’t and I would just stab myself in the leg.
“I bust my nose up really bad on the steering wheel, and I had a really bad bloody nose, but you can’t see it on camera, which really annoys me.”
In ‘Cherry,’ Holland transforms into a war veteran-turned-bank robber, broken by PTSD and drug addiction.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, soon to launch in theaters and on HBO Max, is a film about Fred Hampton (the role Kaluuya plays), a leader of the Black Panther movement during the civil rights era.
The actors also talked about being under lockdown due to COVID-19, days before Christmas in London.
Holland said his pandemic go-to is golf, his favourite pastime. “The reason I love it is because I turn my phone off and can kind of disconnect from everything else, so I basically just play golf every day,” he said.
Kaluuya talked about how, at the beginning, he watched a film a day. “There were so many films that people had mentioned that I had never seen, and I was like, let me do that.”
In ‘Black Panther’ Kaluuya plays warrior W’Kabi while Holland is mostly known for his role as Spider-Man.