by Tim Gordon
The cast and crew of Black Panther have been lavished with praise and acclaim, and rightfully so, but much of that would not have been possible without the vision of the film’s executive producer, Nate Moore, and the woman responsible for the beautiful look of the character’s wardrobe, two-time Oscar, and Emmy nominee for costume design, the incomparable Ruth E. Carter.
Carter has designed memorable costumes for film and television, with over 40 films to her credit, and has mastered the look of multiple periods and genres in envisioning the clothing and overall appearance of a character or performer. During her 30-year film career, Carter has earned two nominations for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work on the films Malcolm X (1992) directed by Spike Lee, and Amistad (1997) directed by Steven Spielberg.
In addition to designing costumes for the films of Lee, Carter has worked with legendary directors such as Steven Spielberg and John Singleton and has dressed actors from Denzel Washington to Josh Brolin, and actresses from Angela Bassett to Jane Fonda.
Moore is the lone African-American producer in the film division at Marvel Studios.
He came to Marvel just over six years ago from Exclusive Media, where his team worked to finance their films by selling to international territories. He’s also an alum of Participant Media, which uses films to increase awareness of social issues. Those experiences — and his love of comics — made him a great fit for Marvel, which in 2009 was in the middle of making what would become the massively successful Iron Man 2. Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, was looking to expand the producing arm of the company because it was clear from the early success of 2008’s Iron Man meant more were going to get made. Moore came on to run Marvel’s writer’s program, which had just gotten off the ground. The idea was for in-house staff writers to take stabs at little-known characters. At the time, Feige realized that the company was building toward The Avengers, and there was a need for characters outside of that realm.
One of the projects Moore began developing early on in the writer’s program was the Black Panther film, a personal and professional victory of his. In 2014, Marvel announced it’d be producing a stand-alone Black Panther film — an announcement met with much fanfare and celebration.
With Ryan Coogler as director. And a mostly black cast.
From Marvel. With Marvel money. And Marvel expectations.
We sat down with these two trailblazers, one responsible for the look and feel of the fictional African country, Wakanda; the other the visionary who dreamed of this moment since he was a child. Together, the two have created a cultural touchstone for 2018. In the middle of a grueling press tour that is nearing its conclusion, both were warm, gracious and inviting as we began our interview . . .
Carter talks about the direction of the current crop of African-American storytellers as compared to the work of filmmakers from the past; Moore discusses the fashion elements of the character of T’Challa and the choice of Ryan Coogler to direct the film.
Moore talks about the pride in finally bringing Black Panther to the big screen; Carter discusses the challenges of the shooting schedule and whether she used the comics to inform her design choices.
Carter discusses her inspiration for creating the lush, unique look of the characters in the film; Moore discusses rich characters that populate the story, as well as the diverse cast and crew.
Additional information from The Undefeated, as well as information gathered from Wikipedia.