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Chadwick Boseman talks Black Panther accent, dream to play superhero

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ABC

This May sees the release of Captain America: Civil War, and along with it the film debut of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. The superhero (real name T’Challa) doubles as the king of a fictional African country named Wakanda. Because of this, Boseman developed an accent indicative of the region. As he said on Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Boseman tested the accent out before hitting the big stage.

“You know how comedians will do a small comedy club before you do the big show? I did an independent film called Message from the King, and I play a South African coming to L.A., a fish out of water story,” he explained. “So I used that as my small comedy club performance to find my dialect coach, to find my base for an authentic African dialect.”

Kimmel pointed out that although there’s no Wakanda in real-life Africa, there is one in Illinois near Wisconsin. The host quipped that he should’ve just tried a Wisconsin accent.

Even before he was developing accents or even cast in the role, Boseman was almost haunted by Black Panther, he told Kimmel. While filming Gods of Egypt in Australia a year before his big casting announcement, Boseman said a security guard put an original 1970s issue of Black Panther in Boseman’s trailer with a note reading, “I believe you’re going to be Black Panther.” Boseman said at that point he thought about the role in a vague way, but hadn’t gone beyond that.

“As an actor you walk around going, ‘I could play this guy, I could do that guy,'” Boseman said. “So Black Panther was on my radar as a dream, as something that would be cool to do and I’m a fan of it, but not something that would take over your consciousness as something you’re actually gonna do, until he did that.”

That wasn’t even the last strange premonition related to the role, Boseman said. When Marvel first contacted him about the role, he got into a car with representatives and ended up in an eerie place. “The driver stops at this antique shop, and in the front window there were all these panthers in the window,” Boseman said.

“Wow, you might be a real superhero,” Kimmel said. “This is how it happens.”

Watch the clip above. Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6.