Winston Duke Interview: Changing Ideals in a New Way
By Jader Paramo & Jessica Nardo
Miami is known as the melting pot of the United States. From our beautiful beaches, crazy night life, and diverse cultures, we see people from all over the world. It’s not every day we get a visitor from the great nation of Wakanda; ok maybe not Wakanda but it was the Tobagonian actor’s first visit to the sunshine state. Once again, we were hosted by the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Brickell where we got to sit down with no other than Winston Duke, who plays M’Baku and is one of the breakout stars from this year’s massively successful blockbuster Black Panther. Even though Winston Duke had been doing press runs all day, he walked into the conference room high energy and greeted us all with a huge smile stating that he saved the best interview for last. Though Duke plays the barbaric character so well, you’d be happy to know that we were able to meet one of the most funny, eloquent, and humble people in the industry. The up and coming star talks about his family’s first time seeing him on the big screen, the triumphant year he is having so far and of course a little film we have all been waiting 10 years to see… Avengers: Infinity War leaving us on edge on what we can expect from the year’s most highly anticipated film.
Being a part of the MCU is no easy task considering the amount of characters that are involved, especially now in Infinity War. Duke, however, had the best explanation of what it was like walking on to this set, in comparison to that of Black Panther, “One family [those in Black Panther] being welcomed into the home of another family [The Avengers], and not only being welcomed but there is a space for you.” Not only was it the community vibes, but he was fully aware of the bombastic concept that has been in the works for so long, “What I can tell you is all is going to be woven into this wonderful tapestry of 18 movies of invested story telling.” Although Duke spoke highly of the work being completed in Infinity War, he is definitely trained in the tight-lipped ways of Marvel. Not only has he not seen the film in its entirety but, he could not offer much as far as any insider news. As movies fans and those who want to avoid spoilers, this was slightly appreciated. He did give some insight one what it was like to reprise his role and how even though M’Baku is an establish character he just created, there is still room for interesting growth, “It came with its own challenges like not being able to know the whole story going on buy trusting that I am part of a really great franchise.”
Winston is also very aware of the symbol he is portraying for people. With M’Baku being a fan favorite in Black Panther, it’s clear that he wants to leave an impression on more than just what the audiences see. He wants this kind of masculinity to be a representation for his culture that is not commonly seen. He has a great way of stating how basically bringing these characters to the forefront now leaves room for a more diverse setting of what can continue to be representative for the big screen, “I’m in really great conversations now in Hollywood, all over rooms with producers, all over with writers & directors. You know conversations that they take into the room & do something different. Now they feel they have some kind of agency, some kind of control into what they are consuming & that’s really huge for me.” However, his world is not stopping with M’Baku though her refers to him as, “The gift that keeps on giving.” It’s clear that the humble beginning of Winston Duke are the seeds that will continue to grow, “a lot of things are in development. I’m really excited to announce them when the time is right.”