×

‘Black Panther’s’ Winston Duke on ‘Praying for Work,’ Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ and Mark Wahlberg’s Weekends

Winston Duke has had quite a year.

Not only did the Yale School of Drama alum make his feature film debut, but it happened to be in “Black Panther” playing M’Baku.

“It’s been a blessing,” Duke says. “A lot of things come with this. It’s a lot of attention. It’s a lot of all these new people and gifts and all these things, but I remember when I wasn’t working, I was praying a lot. When I prayed, I remember saying, ‘I just want to work.’

“I prayed for work. I didn’t pray for fame. I didn’t pray for anything but work.”

Duke was the center of attention on Thursday night at the Montage Beverly Hills, where luxury leather goods brand MCM and GQ hosted a dinner in his honor.

Born in Tobago, his mom, Cora Pantin, decided to move the family to the U.S. when his sister declared she wanted to be a doctor (she’s now a reproductive endocrinologist). Duke spent his teenage years in Rochester, N.Y. He caught the acting bug in middle school and went on his first audition when he was 16. “Everyone was really nice,” Duke said. “They said I had talent and potential, which is the magic word which hooks so many people and ruins so many lives. It takes a lot of time to work with potential.”

Cora Pantin, Winston Duke, King Bach and Sydelle NoelMCM x GQ celebrate Winston Duke at The Restaurant at Montage Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA - 19 Dec 2018

Cora Pantin, Duke Winston, Andrew Bachelor (seated) and Sydelle Noel.

Now 32, Duke has been quite busy since “Black Panther.” He co-stars opposite Lupita Nyong’o, who he first met when they were both students at Yale, in “Us,” Jordan Peele’s much anticipated and quite secretive follow-up to “Get Out” about a family visit to the mom’s childhood beach house that turns into a nightmare.

Duke hesitates when asked what else he can say about “Us.” “I can’t ruin anything for you,” he said. He then paused before carefully adding, “Just like you saw with ‘Get Out,’ it functions on multiple levels.”

He also just wrapped Netflix’s “Wonderland,” director Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg’s crime drama based on Robert B. Parker’s novel of the same name from his series of detective novels. It’s the same series that was adapted for ABC’s 1980s television show “Spenser: For Hire.” In the movie, shot in and around Boston, Wahlberg plays Spencer with Duke as his right-hand man Hawk.

“Watching the man balance family life and his professional career was amazing,” Duke says of Wahlberg. “He’s a committed family man. He flew home every single weekend. He’d leave set every Friday night, fly home to Los Angeles to be with his family and then flew back to work on Monday.”

King Bach and Winston DukeMCM x GQ celebrate Winston Duke at The Restaurant at Montage Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA - 19 Dec 2018
CREDIT: Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

It sounds like one of Duke’s next project could be on Broadway. “Ahhhh,” he laughed when asked about his possible Broadway plans. “I can’t tell you but that’s my bread and butter. I come from theater and the stage so that’s my wheelhouse.”

Toasting Duke at last night’s dinner was his mom, “Black Panther” actress Sydelle Noel, Jay Pharoah, social media star King Bach and Duke’s agent CAA’s Josh Lieberman and stylist Jenny Ricker.

More Film

  • Metro 2033

    Cult Sci-Fi Novel 'Metro 2033' to Be Adapted as Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    Russia’s TNT-Premier Studios Company, TV-3 Channel and Central Partnership Film Company – all part of Gazprom Media – have come together to produce a movie based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s sci-fi novel “Metro 2033,” which has also been adapted as a video game. Filming is due to start next year. The Russian premiere of the movie [...]

  • Beforeigners

    'Beforeigners’' Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  HBO Europe’s first Norwegian original series, which debuted Aug. 21 exclusively across HBO’s territories, has garnered rave reviews in the Norwegian press. It is also a perfect fit for HBO’s brand and goal to create bold, smart and author-driven shows. Produced by Endemol Shine’s Norwegian prodco Rubicon TV, “Beforeigners” is helmed by [...]

  • Refugees from the besieged Muslim enclave

    Sarajevo’s True Stories Market: Documenting the Atrocities of War

    Reconciliation and dealing with the tragedies of the Yugoslav Wars has been a major focus of the Sarajevo Film Festival and its CineLink Industry Days event in recent years. The True Stories Market, launched in 2016, aims to connect filmmakers with organizations that are researching and documenting the Yugoslav Wars that spanned 1991 to 2001 [...]

  • Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’

    Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ Wins Top Prize in Sarajevo

    “Take Me Somewhere Nice,” Bosnian director Ena Sendijarević’s coming-of-age story about a teen raised in the Netherlands who returns to Bosnia to visit her ailing father, won the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival Thursday night, earning the Amsterdam-based helmer the coveted Heart of Sarajevo Award. The jury heralded the “beautifully photographed, acted, scripted [...]

  • Khadar Ahmed - BUFO - photo

    Bufo Sets Key Cast for Co-Production ‘The Gravedigger' (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —   Actor Omar Abdi, who starred in the Ahmed-scripted short “Citizens,” and actress Yasmin Warsame, who made her name as a Canadian model, will topline romantic-tragedy “The Gravedigger,” the latest big screen project from Bufo, the Helsinki-based outfit behind Berlinale winner “The Other Side of Hope.” The film follows a Djibouti gravedigger [...]

  • Jacobs Ladder Movie 2019

    Film Review: 'Jacob's Ladder'

    It’s understandable that someone would want to remake “Jacob’s Ladder,” Adrian Lyne’s 1990 head-trip thriller about a Vietnam veteran haunted by fragmentary nightmare visions. I was far from alone in finding the original to be an overwrought but rather thin “psychological” horror film that was more punishing than pleasurable. And it wasn’t exactly a hit, [...]

  • Fiddler A Miracle of Miracles

    Film Review: 'Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles'

    Still beloved and routinely revived 55 years after its Broadway debut — including a Yiddish-language version now playing in New York — “Fiddler on the Roof” is a popular phenomenon that shows no sign of subsiding. Max Lewkowicz’s “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” provides an entertaining if hardly exhaustive overview of how the unlikely success [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content