Winston Duke, the latest profile for GQ magazine, revealed some of the secrets of his past auditions. For one, Duke said that he didn’t know one audition was for a particular big franchise.
“I auditioned for [a movie with fake sides] that literally looked nothing like it would be for a space-opera adventure. Nothing that even seemed very futuristic,” he said. “It felt more like a buddy-cop comedy. Kind of like 48 Hours. I found out months later it was a Star Wars audition.”
His audition for Black Panther, another big film for another big franchise–this time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe–was another unique experience.
“[Ryan Coogler] kept having me go through the scenes over and over,” he said, saying how many ways Coogler wanted him to do his lines. “At that time I had no idea what he wanted, but I do know as an actor I’m pretty flexible. If you want something, I’m pretty sure I can deliver. He put about 40 minutes into [the audition]–40 minutes of his time–helping to shape me as an artist. I said, ‘At the end of the day, I just got to work with Ryan Coogler. It’s already a big win.”
His first audition opposite Chadwick Boseman was also an eye-opening experience.
“I walked in there, and I saw his face, and I’m like ‘Oh, damn. It’s real,'” he said. “They wanted us to wrestle around a little bit, and I didn’t expect to wrestle. I had these beads on my hand–like jewelry–and I wore boots and these cargo pants. And as we’re wrestling around, my pants split, and my beads broke. And I was just like, ‘You know what, man? Go with it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Go with it. Champions adjust.”
Duke said his participation was “incredibly easy to say yes” to in his upcoming movie with director Jordan Peele, Us, described by Peele as a “social horror-thriller.”
“Jordan [Peele] is a beautiful mind, and an incredible talent, and an incredible director. It was beautiful,” he said. “I think it’ll be a wonderful conversation piece for 2019. It’s definitely a Jordan Peele-brand movie. It’s a thoughtful, psychological, impactful experience. Peeleian–that’s gonna become a word in the film lexicon very soon. You’re gonna say, ‘Aw, man, this feels very Jordan Peeleian.'”
You can read the full interview at GQ. Us, also starring Anna Diop, Lupita Nyong’o, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Elisabeth Moss and Kara Hayward, is coming to theaters March 15, 2019.