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The Surfjack recently welcomed Joe Robert Cole, a man who has busted out on the Hollywood behind-the-scenes scene, thanks to perhaps his biggest project to date: Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which he co-wrote alongside film director and screenwriter Ryan Coogler.

Cole’s resume reads like that of a true Hollywood powerhouse—it’s a wonder he’s had time for anything else. He’s the Emmy-nominated producer/writer for the award-winning FX series “American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson;” creator and executive producer of a new series adaptation of “In The Heat of the Night;” director of his passion project, “All Day and a Night;” and the man behind the adaptation of the novel “Dreamland,” for HBO and Playtone, to name just a few.

Cole visited Honolulu this September as a special guest judge (alongside fellow Marvel man Nate Moore) for the annual ‘Ohina: The Short Film Showcase, Hawaii’s largest annual short film festival that allows independent filmmakers to exhibit their films to the community. During his time on the island, Cole hosted a two-day writing workshop at Kumu Kahua Theatre, followed by a talk story session and meet and greet.

Afterwards, overlooking the Waikiki skyline on the Surfjack’s penthouse lanai, we caught up with the man Hollywood hired to write a movie that will undoubtedly go down in history—the first feature film with a black superhero as the main character, and a predominantly black cast. If it’s not already, expect Joe Robert Cole’s name to become a household one.

Name: Joe Robert Cole

Room: 1038

Homebase: Hollywood, CA

I got into writing because… telling stories is probably the one constant in my life—outside of family—from childhood. As a kid, I played make believe and made up stories all the time. Writing is just a natural extension of that.

Black Panther is… the superhero of our time.

Album on repeat… The “Logan” soundtrack. I write to music.

I feel most creative when… it’s the middle of the night and most of the world around me is asleep.

Some of my favorite childhood flicks are… movies for teenagers and adults that I snuck and watched on cable.

Click here to read our interview with “Black Panther” Executive Producer Nate Moore.

photo: Ries (erik)

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