If you had the chance to see Marvel’s Black Panther during opening weekend, you might have seen Shreveport actor Tim J. Smith grace the big screen.
Smith, 32, was cast as a stunt performer for the movie based on Marvel’s comic book of the same name. The movie, which grossed roughly $218 million in its first weekend according to Disney, follows the story of T’Challa as he takes his rightful place as king in the nation of Wakanda. Faced with good vs. evil, T’Challa must rally his allies and release the power of Black Panther to defeat his foes.
Smith is no newbie to the acting scene; he’s held stunt roles in Proud Mary, Oblivion, Cut to the Chase, NCIS: New Orleans, The Walking Dead, Salem and his most recent role in Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson.
SB Magazine caught up with the actor to ask him a few questions about his performance in Black Panther.
- Tell me about your role and being cast for this. What did it mean to you? I was brought on a as a stunt performer for the big battle scene between the Jabari warriors vs. the Border Tribe. I am one of the Jabari warriors. Nine times out of 10, I’m a bad guy. Being a part of this film means so much to me. I’m still settling in when I think about it. I’ve never been apart of something historical, until now. It’s very dear to me. This film will have a cultural impact. People from all walks of life will enjoy it. It’s already smashing records in only its first weekend. I’ve worked on over 70 different films and TV shows, but I think that this one is the one I hold closest to me. No disrespect to the others, it’s just that this one was personal.
- Costuming and fashion play a huge role in this movie. Tell me about what you had to wear: The wardrobe that the leads got to wear will start being seen worn by us in the public very soon. Be on the lookout. It’s going to happen. The shirts and suits that Chadwick (Boseman) got to wear, I’ll be on the lookout for them to add to my own closet. And the ladies wardrobe, even more impressive. Everything they wore were instant compliment magnets — everything from the formal wear to the combat wear. Those ladies shined in the spotlight. My wardrobe was impressive, but nothing I would wear on a night out. We were warriors and we had Shaka Zulu style African warrior costumes. A lot of leather and straw materials.
- What do you hope people who see this movie take away from it? I personally have not seen it yet as of now because I got a work call and had to leave town for opening weekend. I had tickets, but had to give them away. So I’ll see it when I return home tomorrow. But the main thing I hope people take away is how cool and interesting Africa really is. I know Wakanda is a fictional nation and all what you see in this movie mostly fictional, but it was all inspired by factual examples from Africa. Everything from the costumes to the production design. I’m also excited that young black kids have more than just black athletes to emulate; they now have a black superhero, as well.