We started our interviews off with a BANG! Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright were the first two cast members we had the pleasure to sit down with…and let me tell you, this was the interview we wished would never end. These two enjoyed themselves and loved their parts in Black Panther so much, all they wanted to do was share their excitement for it all!
We cheered for them as they walked into the room and Letitia said, “Hey y’all,” like we were friends not just a bunch of reports/media. It became an instant, friendly chat versus a typical Q&A situation. Daniel and Letitia truly wanted to just sit down and talk with us.
DANIEL KALUUYA plays W’Kabi. W’Kabi is the head of security for the Border Tribe. The people of the Border Tribe live on the borders of Wakanda and serve as the first line of defense for the country. To outsiders they appear to be what people would “expect” of a small African nation—but the truth is they are some of the fiercest warriors in Wakanda, intent on protecting the secrets of their nation at all costs.
LETITIA WRIGHT plays Shuri. Shuri is T’Challa’s little sister and a smart-mouthed, tech wizard. She is second-in-line for the throne behind her brother and is the smartest person in Wakanda—the top scientist and the innovator behind the Black Panther’s updated suits and technology.
We talked about the fashion…and they couldn’t say more nice things about Ruth Carter. At first Letitia didn’t like the dresses, not because they weren’t phenomenal, but because she wasn’t “super girly” when she started Black Panther. But that all changed when they took her into her fitting. Let’s just say after her fitting the only word she had to describe herself was “DAMN!” Letitia said, “Like everybody across the board looked dope.” I have to agree, the costumes were amazing…but you will have to wait until next week to find out more as I did get the chance to talk to Ruth Carter!
Nikki Wright created pretty much all the styles for Letitia’s hair. “They all settled on braids, which I never had prior to that…then Nikki would come in and be like, ‘what are you wearing?’ and she would see like, like roughs of pictures from Ruth and then she would just go like this. And then she would start designing on my head. And then we would go and like show Ryan and then he would love it.”
How did they prepare for the movie (because it’s a very demanding, physical movie)?
Daniel said, “Well, we did a lot of sword training.” They started from scratch and had to learn how to fight. “Everyone had their own fighting style that reflects their character. So, W’Kabi is more like a fierce, ruthless” kind of guy. They used the inspiration of the stars in the African community in Africa. “And then kind of like trying to have a hybrid of all these stars and we just worked in all these fights that we were working with.” The process was long, but the end result is amazing!
There were many laughable moments in Black Panther. Letitia’s character stole the show every time she was on the screen. Letitia didn’t realize how funny her character was until they began filming. Letitia said, “It was just like, it was down to the writing, 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 ’cause I just went into it.” Daniel commended her by saying, “I think what’s amazing about Letitia’s performance in this film is that she’s honest.”
There are so many incredible messages that come out of the film. We wanted to know what they wanted to audience to take away from this movie.
“We want to connect with people. We want to empower the people.” ~ Daniel Kayluua
Letitia said, “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.”
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” hits U.S. theaters on February 16, 2018.
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Disclosure: I am a Disney Blogger. This was an all-expense paid trip. All opinions are 100% my own.