Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) is creating his own kind of sign language to use in Marvel’s Inhumans. The ABC-IMAX series will finally be bringing the beloved, albeit obscure Marvel Comics property to life in live-action form this September after multiple years of fans waiting to see when and how the Inhumans would be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And depending on your knowledge of the Inhumans lore, then either one of the most exciting or confounding aspects of the Inhumans TV series is going to be its unique lineup of lead characters, most of whom non-dedicated Marvel comic book readers may not be too familiar with when the show premieres.
Right at the top of that list is Anson Mount’s Black Bolt, the powerful leader of the Inhumans, who emits highly destructive sonic waves every time he speaks, which should make him one of the more uniquely powerful characters in the MCU. But in order to avoid as much violence as possible, Black Bolt also lives his life as a mute, communicating non-verbally, which has the potential to translate either very well or very poorly on the screen, something fans got just a brief taste of in the recent initial teaser trailer for Inhumans.
King Black Bolt will instead will be communicating with his cast members outside of just his facial expressions, with the show’s version of Black Bolt using sign language. During Screen Rant’s recent Inhumans set visit, Mount opened up briefly about what it’s been like creating the sign language for Black Bolt in the series, which will be its own creation and entirely separate from the ASL:
“One of the more entertaining things about performance is watching your performers struggle with the role in a way that is not indulgent but maybe in parallel with their character. So, I want to be challenged. I don’t want things made easy for me. You know, when Roel Reine came in, we had never worked together before, and he said to me, he said, “Okay. I have already got it figured it out. We are going to just give you like 15 or 16 signs that you can just repeat.” And I was like, “No. That’s…no. That’s not going to happen.” [laughs] So, I’m actually, I have a sign consultant and I have been building a lexicon as I go. I have a huge file on Google Docs of photos of myself and my hands along with definitions. I am stealing some of the, uh, I guess, rules of how ASL works but, the signs themselves, I’ve actually checked to make sure that the signs don’t overlap, but I am borrowing sort of the really common sense tools.”
This is certainly a unique approach to be taking with the character, though, and it’s one that will hopefully make the character have as large of a presence as possible during intense conversational or confrontational scenes. It also answers one of the biggest questions fans have always had with regard to the MCU’s version of Black Bolt.
However, while there’s a lot of interest surrounding Inhumans right now — which will be making its initial premiere in IMAX cinemas around the world — there’s also quite a bit of skepticism coming from the fan community. Whether it be the series’ limited network budget or its unexpected design choices for some of its characters, the hype for Inhumans is decidedly more mixed than it has been for most other Marvel projects in recent years. So there’s no telling right now if Inhumans will manage to stick the landing or not. But at the very least, it’s clear that how well the show brings the character of Black Bolt to life, will be one of the key deciding factors in its overall success.
Inhumans premieres in IMAX on September 1, and on ABC on September 29.
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