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Ryan Coogler reflects on ‘The Godfather’ inspiration for ‘Black Panther’

Director Ryan Coogler and his wife Zinzi Evans pose on May 10, 2018 during a photocall at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. | LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

CANNES, France — Film director Ryan Coogler says “The Godfather” was a major influence on “Black Panther,” but he was apprehensive about making that public.

In a talk at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, Coogler said he realized the story of “Black Panther” — about a young man ascending to a family throne — bore many similarities with Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece.

But Coogler didn’t want that inspiration divulged before the movie came out because he said he was worried that people would think he was “aiming too high” for a comic book film.

“Black Panther” became one of the year’s most acclaimed films and grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide.

Coogler brought 60 film students, many of them African, to the Cannes festival.

Associated Press

Bonasera, portrayed by Frank Puglia (left) asks Don Vito Corleone, portrayed by Marlon Brando for a favor in a scene from the 1972 movie “The Godfather”. | Paramount/Nick Ut/AP, File