After seeing Black Panther at the LA World Premiere, I had the chance to sit down with my fellow bloggers for an exclusive interview with Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira. Interviewing with bloggers is a very relaxing and exciting time…because when they walk in we start the mood off right with a well deserved applause. Just look at their faces in the photo below…they know we appreciate and support them!
This two women portrayed such strong, passionate, loyal women in Black Panther. We wanted to know how they identified with their character.
Lupita said, “I identify with Nakia’s independent spirit and her feeling her loyalty to her country.” Nakia is a warrior of the River Tribe. She is fierce and passionate about helping others outside of Wakanda. “I relate to that and so I think that was my in to figuring out who she was and I love a woman who is on a mission to make a difference which is what she’s on.”
Danai also felt like she could relate to her characters power and purpose. Though Danai never wanted to be in the military, she always knew what she wanted and was very clear about her purpose. Danai said, “So I could really relate to that about her, about the way that she is so dedicated to her nation and so dedicated to her people and really holds responsibility.” Her character is very dedicated to her role as protector and does what is right for Wakanda.
Danai said, “We’re both from the continent and the passionate — the passion I have for what I feel the continent could be is very strong in me. I write plays that feed into it.”
Danai, “It’s a very powerful thing for me and so — for both of us and so the idea of that sort of loss of place, loss of that, sort of a thing to actually have something as stunning as Wakanda on the continent and lose it to me it was, it really fueled my connection to the stakes of her and the character. So it was actually — there were so many things that were so — they’re very easy to connect to because she is, you know, I’m an African.”
Lupita and Danai made the fighting scenes not only graceful, but powerful. So what did they do to train for this movie? Because their movements were almost like a dance. Bottom line is they trained a lot! They had trainers who took them through many components and different techniques of fighting. Each character had a different strength, different fighting styles. Danai’s was very traditional. “Hers is got the job done, and so my character’s gonna pull out her spear and she’s gonna do forms that have been in Wakanda tradition for generations in this particular place.” She would pick up a spear or sword versus a gun.
There was precision in everything that was done. If something happened, they went back and started from the beginning. It was a tedious process, but they loved it.
Lupita stated, “The training was a big part of getting into character because understanding how someone fights reveals a lot about what their values are and who they are and so when we were first talking about Nakia’s fighting style Ryan said to me she’s street and that was really all I needed so by any means necessary she will use any weapon.” Nakia will use anything from guns to her shoe, whatever she can use to get the job done.
These two lovely ladies brought very strong female characters to life on the screen. How did they create their characters?
Lupita said, “Well I think for both of us especially when we’re dealing with African representation in story we feel such a strong sense of responsibility and desire, deep desire to see African women on screen that look and feel like we know them to be. And so with these characters we wanted them to be women that we know and like the women that I know are complex and they’re deep and they’re about something other than just the man in their lives and so I think that was really important to us.”
Director Ryan Coogler felt it was really important to have women standing on their own in this movie. “Strength does not mean an absence of vulnerablility, but it means that you understand, you have it in yourself to get yourself through things.” (Lupita)
Lupita, “I command Ryan for this because in the end his story is not about punchlines and clips and things to make it fun and enjoyable and yet it’s still fun and enjoyable but there’s an integrity to these people. You know, we really get a sense of what Wakanda’s society is like and we see a society where men and women are participating fully in the development of the nation and in so doing they’re reaching their full potential and that’s good for everybody.”
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” hits U.S. theaters on February 16, 2018.
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Disclosure: I am a Disney Blogger. This will be an all-expense paid trip. All opinions are 100% my own.