One of my favorite conversations with anyone just happened. And the conversation wasn’t just with anyone, it was with Academy Award nominated Daniel Kaluuya and the breakout star of Black Panther Letitia Wright. The two are nothing short of dynamic both on screen and off and brought a sense of joy with them when they entered the room for our chat about the much anticipated Ryan Coogler film.
First off, I had to hit Letitia with what has been on my mind since I saw her amazing performance as “Shuri” in Black Panther. Letitia Wright is going to be everyone’s favorite Wakandan and what’s more she is the brainy, badass, black princess so many of us have been waiting to see on screen. I wanted to know how embodying a character that has so much depth and meaning has been for her.
Letitia Wright shares what happened for her to become a Black Princess on film.
It’s crazy because this film is pretty much years of prayer. I would pray when I was a teenager just getting into acting that whatever I do, I just want to be a vessel to be of inspiration. Doesn’t have to necessarily mean that that character is not flawed or has to be a perfect character but just to inspire.When this opportunity came up, I understood the magnitude of Shuri in the comic books. I understood where her arc is and where her journey is and it’s huge.
I understood what was gonna be happening, I understood the magnitude of the film, I understood that I’m standing with Daniel, Lupita, Chad, Ryan, like Michael… I could see what was going on and I could see what would be the result, so what I tried to do was just play and tell the truth. Knowing that as long as I do that and I do it to the best of my ability and I am a vessel for that, then hopefully by God’s grace like young people will be inspired. If some, if a kid can be like, ‘man, I want to do science’… I’m not trying to force it down your throat… It’s kind of like, I’m just gonna be the vessel and be real. And be like, ‘science is cool, Shuri is cool, she can you know, create stuff and not be looked down upon,’ and just play the truth of that.
What kind of things did you both do to prepare for the movie especially because you both have physical roles.
Well, yeah, we did a lot of sword training. We had so much sword training. I had to start from scratch. We had to kind of learn, I think what was amazing, everyone had to have their own fighting style. So, everyone is , even like with the hairstyle, everyone hairstyle is different. There are a different styles within the community. Everyone had their own fighting style that reflects their character. So, W’Kabi is more like a fierce, ruthless, kind of like bub. So, it was a long, long process of finding, we, we have a run of certain fights, it was like, ‘okay what have you learned? What have you got? What pieces have you got?’ And we just kind of, let’s us get completely creative and in the moment.
How has it been on social media after the premiere?
He’s ghost on social media. I’m trying to be a semi-ghost. So, you know what that means is that I really want to have one but I don’t want anyone to pretend to be me. I just put a few pictures up so people know it’s me.
Letitia couldn’t help but to dish on Daniel as they two are long time friends.
He’s been my, he’s been my brother for years. I’ve known this guy (points to Daniel) for a long time and he’s a champ. I would go to his theater show, he would come up, he’d be like, ‘Tish, it’s mad,’ and he would smack it. And he’d be like, ‘where have you been?’, ‘I’ve been ghost.’ And he comes, he comes back like two months later, like five months later than he’s in Get Out and then you’re like, ‘okay, cool.’ Alright, where you? And he’s like, ‘oh, Tish it’s mad.’ And it’s like, ‘where you been?’, ‘Gonna be on Panther, I’ll see you there.’
There’s a lot of deep parts in the film Black Panther, but there’s also a lot of comedy. Was there a scene that you all had to keep re shooting because you just couldn’t control the laughter?
You know what I didn’t even expect it. I didn’t even expect that I’d go in with the thing that I’m gonna be funny. It was just like the writing was so good and then also just going – going at home and really just studying the script. And then I would find myself coming up with stuff like, ‘she would say that,’ like, ‘she would say that and that’s mighty rude.’ And she took herself so seriously I guess that’s why it’s kind of funny.
Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. When a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.
Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
I’ll see you at the movies on February 16th!
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BLACK PANTHER arrives in theatres everyone on February 16, 2018!
Photography credit: Marvel
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