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Director Ryan Coogler Surprised Fans At A "Black Panther" Screening In His Hometown

"My father used to take me here to come see whatever movie he thought a black father and a black son should come see together."

Posted on February 16, 2018, at 11:12 a.m. ET

Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther, surprised audience members at a Thursday night screening of the movie in his hometown of Oakland, California.

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"This theater means a lot to me. It's the first theater that I remember," Coogler said when he showed up at the Grand Lake Theater.

@grandlake Director and #Oakland native Ryan Coogler at @GrandLake in Oakland - surprising 10 p.m. crowd about to s…

"My father used to take me here to come see whatever movie he thought a black father and a black son should come see together," he said.

Twitter: @peterhartlaub

"He took me here to see Boyz n the Hood when I was like 4 years old or 3 years old or something crazy like that. I sat right here in this back row right there and cried like crazy at the end of the movie β€” probably annoyed everybody. So hopefully nobody’s got no babies in here like my dad did.”

Fans were thrilled by the surprise visit.

Black Panther was... wow. Just go see it. AND Ryan Coogler made a surprise appearance in our theater before the show!!

Saw #BlackPanther today! And a surprise visit from director Ryan Coogler! This movie is brilliant and I’m so proud! #WakandaForever

Coogler made his directorial debut in 2013 with Fruitvale Station, followed by Creed in 2015. Both films starred Michael B. Jordan, who also plays Black Panther villain Erik Killmonger.

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While most of Black Panther takes place in the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda, Coogler paid homage to the city he grew up in by setting part of the film in Oakland.

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β€œI think that more than anything, growing up in the Bay Area gave me perspective on how a location influences the individual,” Coogler told the Mercury News, a newspaper in San Jose, California. β€œIn leaving the Bay Area for school and work and then coming back, you realize certain things that make certain neighborhoods and certain places unique."

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images