When the cast of “Black Panther” won Best Motion Picture Cast at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards, it was star Chadwick Boseman who spoke on behalf of the cast.
“We all know what it’s like to be told there’s no place for you, but you’re young, talented, and black,” Boseman said while flanked by his SAG Award-winning co-stars. “We know what it’s like to be told there isn’t a screen you can appear on; a stage for you to appear. We know what it is to be the tail and not the head; we know what it is to be below and not above. And that’s what we were going to work with every day. Because we knew, not that we would be around during awards season and win a billion dollars, but that we had something special that we wanted to give to the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see.”
WATCHInterview with the visual effects team of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
After Boseman tragically died in the summer of 2020, just before production began on the “Black Panther” sequel, the world mourned the loss of the Marvel superstar and the “Black Panther” cast was left to mourn. his friend and leader.
“Obviously we didn’t know how we were going to get through it, we just knew we had to support each other,” Danai Gurira, who plays Dora Milaje leader Okoye in the “Black Panther” franchise, tells Gold Derby. Exclusive video interview. “We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, and what it was going to be like for us to do this without him and to do it with the pain that we hadn’t been able to process together yet because we lost him right at the moment. the height of covid. So it was a lot of connecting with each other, supporting each other. There were some days when you were stronger and some days other people in the cast were stronger.”
Set after “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Endgame,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” focuses on the loss of T’Challa (Boseman), the king and leader of Wakanda, and how his friends, allies, and Family members deal with the repercussions of his death. For Okoye, that means accepting not only his pain, but also the place he might occupy in the kingdom’s future.
“It was only later that I realized that we were actually dealing with the exact same thing in the sense of the disorientation that he goes through,” Gurira says of how his sense of loss matched his character. “She has enormous responsibilities. So she better be a control freak. I’m the same, I’m a control freak. And then I was at a loss because we’re trying to make this movie in the midst of being a part of this pain ourselves… I didn’t even realize how much Okoye and I mirrored each other. But going into Okoye’s connection to T’Challa was a very specific thing, and my connection to Chadwick and not having him there to do this together. We were artists doing this together and he was a very grounded, powerful, loving, generous leader who was always there. He brought so much joy and peace to the set.”
WATCHInterview with Ludwig Goransson: composer of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’
Despite the film’s plethora of themes, “Wakanda Forever” remains a Marvel blockbuster, packed with heartwarming action and bouts of comedy, including many one-liners from Gurira herself. During a pivotal sequence, she is paired with Letitia Wright’s Shuri as they travel to the United States in search of Riri Williams aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne). The actresses’ relationship is a deadpan delight and, Gurira says, matches their off-screen relationship.
“She is one of my closest friends, I adore her. She that’s my little sister,” Gurira says of Wright. “We played a lot in those scenes. We both had our shades on [in the Riri sequence] Y [director] Ryan [Coogler] It was like, ‘oh sweetie, keep your shades on.’ Those are the shades we just came up with. We were just talking nonsense and he kept a bit of that in the movie… Because we are very close friends and we both have a very similar sense of humor, we are able to find things.”
Gurira says she’s not shy about improvising dialogue, and as the acclaimed playwright whose play “Eclipsed” was nominated for a Tony Award, she often has thoughts about story and character. “Sometimes I have too many thoughts,” she jokes. “You could ask Ryan about that. I have thoughts.
But she says the director “is always open to things that work. So I’ll throw some stuff in and see what it takes. He appreciates that. He may take it and he may not. But he appreciates the fact that many of us are storytellers in various ways, and people contribute thoughts and ideas. He is open to you finding things that are not necessarily on the page and exploring them. But I can’t help but be me. So he knows I’m going to come in and say, ‘Let’s talk about page 97.’”
“Wakanda Forever” also allows Gurira to expand her physique on paper. She has a number of great fight scenes in the film, including a pivotal moment where the audience and Wakanda learn how the never-before-seen warriors of the Talokan underwater kingdom are a force to be taken seriously.
“There is so much going on in that fight. And there’s a narrative in that fight that was very important. The revelation of this world through her and how she deals with them and how she can’t deal with them,” Gurira says of the scene. She spent hours and hours preparing for the sequence, pushing her body so that the movements became second nature.
“I am a certified adrenaline junkie. I love getting into that thing. Give me the fight,” she says. “I love being able to not think in the day and that requires a lot of work. You are overlapping the specificity of the fight over the months. I know from experience how much I have to give to get where I want to go in the day. I want Okoye in the driver’s seat that day. I don’t want Danai in sight. And the only way to achieve that is by working hard for months.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is already in theaters.
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