The One 'Time's 100 That You May Not Know, But Definitely Will Soon

It's not always common for a director to become a household name. However, when one does, blockbuster films and Academy Awards usually attribute to that. That's exactly why wouldn't be surprised if writer/director Ryan Cooler becomes Hollywood's next big-name filmmaker. I mean, Coogler holds a spot on TIME Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People, and, though fans are not praising this choice the way they are praising Priyanka Chopra, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Lin-Manuel Miranda, he's the one person on this list that you need to know if you haven't already heard of him. Considering the projects of his past and his present, he certainly seems to be headed in the right direction for long-lasting success.

In the past two years, Coogler established himself with successful film festival and Academy Award-nominated films, Creed and Fruitvale Station. However, despite the widespread Academy speculation and award wins at festivals including Cannes and the Independent Spirit Awards, Coogler still remains a director very much on the rise. His talent alone seems to be speaking for itself, and now Coogler is about to make the jump from renowned festival name to blockbuster director, since he will be directing Marvel's recently announced 2018 release, Black Panther. If the time-honored tradition of Marvel movie blockbusters holds true here, Coogler's name will be one you'll hear a whole lot more in the upcoming years, a name that has the opportunity of becoming as common as the likes of fellow filmmakers Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, or even James Cameron.

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"There is a beautiful scene in Ryan Coogler’s Creed that captures what this young director proposes to his art form and to his country," explains journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates to TIME magazine as he describes some of the director's work. "All the beauty the Academy cannot see is in this one scene. That beauty, so often denied, is the stuff of Coogler’s work. This is not a matter of looking pretty — though that is part of it — so much as a matter of looking human. That is why Ryan Coogler is so necessary right now. On the biggest screen, he confers humanity and beauty on people told they are innately without it."

And, personally, I believe that it's that kind of talent that ultimately stands out in the long run, as Coogler's other upcoming writing and directing projects are sure to continue speaking volumes as well. As he mentioned in an interview with TIME back in November, having passion for whatever project he's working on is always the key. "It’s important to me to always work on projects that have things that I’m passionate about in them. This work is so all-consuming that to do this job right, you have to throw yourself at it 24 hours a day for years at a time. So that’s kind of what I use as a safeguard that I’m never on a project that I get burnt out from and stop caring because I think that’s the worst thing that can happen to a piece of filmmaking is when the director, the guy that’s at the head of the ship, stops caring and gets fatigued and is just clocking in," he explained. "So I try to always make movies about something that I’m obsessed with and about things that I have questions about."

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be that kind of passion and work ethic that shines through in the long run. But, for right now, Coogler has certainly earned his place on the TIME 100, and is definitely a name to watch going forward as he continues to build himself a name behind the camera that is as ubiquitous as your Steven Spielbergs and your Michael Bays.