The Black Panther introduced two new actors to me: Letitia Wright and Daniel Kaluuya. I was excited to sit down and interview Letitia alongside Daniel, who was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Actor for the film Get Out) this year. When I attended the world premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther, and watched the movie, I fell in love with one particular character over the others – Shuri. She lights up the screen and steals each scene. Check out our roundtable discussion with Letitia and Daniel about their Black Panther characters, W’Kabi and Shuri.
Letitia was as friendly and fun as I imagined she’d be, while it was clear why Daniel has a Hollywood career ahead of him.
Get to Know Black Panther’s W’Kabi and Shuri
Q: What kind of things did you guys do to prepare for the movie ’cause it’s very physical for both of you.
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 -Daniel Kaluuya
Q: How has it been on social media after (the premiere) last night? Please let me know. And did you get any funny tweets?
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 Wright
Q: Daniel, You’re such a fan favorite.
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.’ -Letitia Wright
Q: Well, you’re loved here in the states. That means that you can’t hide, so what are you going to do?
I know it’s harder to hide now. And films like, Black Panther – ‘oh it’s gonna be hard, and harder to hide.’ -Daniel Kaluuya
Q: Question for both of you. There’s a lot of deep parts but there’s also a lot of comedy. Was there a scene that you all had to keep reshooting 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. – Letitia Wright
Q: I think so many people are just so excited about being represented in a film and so for us this is just, it’s such an amazing accomplishment. But, you are representing a black princess on film. And you are modernizing in a way that girls I think around the world, and boys too, are gonna be so excited about. Did you even think about approaching this is as like, ‘wow, I’m actually gonna be inspiring people and I’m gonna be a black princess on screen.’
It’s crazy because this film is pretty much years of prayer and this is something I would pray when I was a teenager just getting into acting, like, 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 perfect or has to be a perfect character but just to inspire. But when this opportunity came up, I understood the, the magnitude of Shuri in this, in the comic books. I understood where her arc is and where her journey is and it’s huge. But, what I had to do was take her, a dose out of like books and just be humble. And just like, just be like, ‘okay cool, this is, don’t think like that.’ 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 understand what was going. 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, tell the truth and that something can, with, within myself I always try to do throughout my whole, my whole time acting so far. -Letitia Wright
Watch the Official Black Panther Trailer
BLACK PANTHER HITS THEATERS EVERYWHERE FEBRUARY 16TH!
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