‘Black Panther’ Nearly Cost Winston Duke His Role in ‘Us’

'Black Panther' Nearly Cost Winston Duke His Role in 'Us'
Winston Duke_ at the People's Ones To Watch Party at the NeueHouse Hollywood on October 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA (Photo credit: athy Hutchins /

Black Panther’s box office success and critical acclaim may have been celebrated by fans and supporters of the film, but it almost prevented co-star Winston Duke from landing a lead role in Jordan Peele’s Us. The Hollywood Reporter released an interview Friday revealing Peele’s apprehension.

The director, who won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay of Get Out, which he also helmed, said the large size and dominance of Duke’s M’Baku role left him uncertain about how he’d fair as Gabe in Us.

“It would take away from our ability to feel afraid [for the family] if they have M’Baku on their side. [On the other hand,] Winston had this charisma that just stole scenes and really left an impression,” Peele explained.

Despite the director’s initial apprehension, Duke managed to secure the leading role, but he noticed Peele’s concerns weren’t in vain. He received a number of offers attempting to typecast him into a specific character.

“I was in conversation for a lot of [roles in which] the character was a fighter, a big guy— he’s aggressive, a warrior,” the actor said. Opening up about the importance of not being typecast into a specific role, Duke said, “I loved playing M’Baku, but that’s not who I am. I want to convey the full spectrum of masculinity. I want people to say that this guy helped change the definition of masculinity onscreen 40 years from now. I’m trying to be that person.”

Us hits theaters on March 22.

Check out the trailer below.