DP Autumn Durald Arkapaw describes how she and Ryan Coogler captured the emotions and themes of Disney/Marvel blockbusters.
For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, this A Year to Note Photographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw. She won her first award for her debut Marvel project Disney+ series Loki An Emmy nomination, and then for her work in the studio Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which will make this season one of the highest-grossing films of the year. As of press time, it has crossed the $78 million Off the domestic box office and grossed $681.8 million worldwide.
When director Ryan Coogler’s frequent collaborator and her friend DP Rachel Morrison had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t make a sequel, she got the gig 1402 hit. “When Rachel found out she couldn’t shoot Panther 2, she mentioned It’s my name,” explained Durald Arkapaw, who like Morrison is an AFI graduate. “Obviously, I was already interested. But after talking to Ryan and meeting him, it just cemented that for me because he’s a very special person.”
By then, Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa/Black Panther, had died and the script was being revised. The filmmakers opted not to recast T’Challa, instead letting the character die of an illness at the beginning of the film. “We’re going to pay homage to him, it’s going to be very sensitive. I take it very seriously.”
On the visual style, she reflects that “what they did [on the original] was so groundbreaking. Sex. The intention this time is to explore further and give more room to that world.” The film introduces new worlds and characters, and on the theme, “We focus more on our female protagonists… Deal with grief, be reborn.” Durald Arkapaw uses anamorphic lenses for a wider perspective. “The glass we chose took on a more vintage quality, more aberrations, and had a more dreamlike quality,” she said. She and Coogler wanted the lighting to feel natural and real.
Most of the footage was shot in Atlanta, but there are additional Location shooting, including intimate scenes shot on a beach in Puerto Rico. There, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, burns clothes to grieve for her brother. And, as part of the end credits (spoiler alert!), she meets Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), who reveals that she and T’Challa have a son. “Ryan and I wanted to [shoot] at the end of the day. This was the best light for the angle we wanted. We got a little bit lucky; it was a very windy day and the trees were blown. There weren’t a lot of clouds. Nice, beautiful spot.”
She continued, “Their performance is so sensitive and beautiful. It’s one of the most impactful things I’ve ever shot, everything is so beautiful and Naturally. On the beach in Puerto Rico, we’re watching the sunset behind her…”
Durald Arkapaw added: “It sums up what this movie is about. It’s about family, it’s about rebirth. It’s about Trying to get rid of the sadness, but it does stay with you, and sometimes you have to carry it with you, and you think about it. This is one of the most beautiful endings I think I’ve ever seen. A solo issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, Click here to subscribe .
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