Hey guys, I hope you are having a fantastic day! While out in tinsel town, I got to interview two amazing female actresses from the upcoming film, Black Panther! Yep, I got to interview Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira! They both were very enthusiastic about the movie and gave us plenty of scoop on working on set, their powerful characters, training sessions and they answered beauty questions about their very unique hairstyles in the film and so much more! Check out what the had to say inside and don’t forget to head to the theater on Feb 16th, you are in for a treat!
Can we you talk about how beautiful the scene in the casino was and that red dress? It’s just amazing and the training process for that or both of you. What did you go through and how did you challenge that and still look super graceful while you were doing it. It was almost like a dance and I absolutely loved it. It’s one of my favorite scenes.
Danai : Yeah, we trained a lot. I loved seeing those guys last night. Jo Jo and — Michael wasn’t there. Michael was my guy. Maddie was hers and they’re just awesome, awesome guys and, you know, just took us through so many like components and they really were so smart with how they crafted with Ryan. You know, how these two, these women are different and how their fighting styles are very different. Mine is very traditional. Hers is get the job done, you know, and so my character’s gonna pull out her spear and she’s gonna do forms that have been in Wakandan tradition for generations in this particular place and she’s just gonna take them down and smack them down you know what I mean and I just love that.
I love that deliberation but yeah, I mean for the casino, like for all of us there was a lot of, a lot of preparation for that scene and he wanted to do a one-er which I think does one-er for those who don’t know which I don’t know, you know, so like the idea of how like, you know, when she lifts up the gun and, you know, then the camera would follow her and then land up on me, up on the balcony. I mean that was a precision and then the idea of how like, you know, when I was up there and, you know, I was at that there were some other stuff I was doing but they just caught me before at that move and then going into the rest of it like it had to all of us, everybody around we had to, there wasn’t they weren’t gonna cut it up so we couldn’t go okay, if something happens we’re going back to the beginning, you know, and it was tedious.
You have both brought very female characters to life on screen. I don’t think I would be strong enough to turn down the king like you did at the beginning but can you talk about what it takes to bring these characters to life? I know it’s acting but it represents what we wanna see in ourselves and see on screen. You guys do it in a way that’s so authentic. What is your process in creating these characters?
Lupita: 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.
It was also really important to Ryan as well to have women who are standing in their own in this movie because personally and I know Danai so well because I know her so well women with agency and strength and strength does not mean an absence of vulnerability but it means that you understand, you have it in yourself to get yourself through things, you know, to seek help, you know, what I mean that is strength in itself is a very complex idea, you know, and so it was important to us that the women however, whoever and however many lines you have that you come across as being full and that’s not hard if you just, if you commit to expressing humanity and not.
And I think 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.
I noticed that hair in culture seem to be a beauty statement and they brought it to where we are today with the current, you know, natural styles and things like that. can you give us a little bit more because you said you had to shave your head and you adapted to getting used to it and I did the same and now I have a different crown but the crown is different to women of color and it’s a huge statement in this film.
Danai: Yeah, I mean I think the beauty is, you know, it’s such a celebration and I think that that’s what’s so powerful to me about it because I don’t think as I was saying, you know, you often don’t see Africanisms celebrated and so I think that completely connects with the hair. I love what the hair department and the costume department did. They really pulled from real actual cultures and ethnic differentiations and how hair is celebrated across the continent traditionally and currently and, you know, I think there is something really powerful about all the ways that hair was represented there because I think there are so many things that tell us, you know, the thing that tells those of African descent or, you know, people who get categorized as the other that there’s one way that they should actually manifest themselves in society in order to be accepted or acceptable.
I mean it’s an argument I still hear every time I go to Zimbabwe sometimes. It’s like oh, my god they had dreadlocks and I don’t want to go to work with dreadlocks. It’s gotten thinner and thinner but it’s something that still needs to get addressed sometimes and there’s some issues even like we thought somethings we dealt with in the 60s. We thought we got with black is beautiful. We thought we got it and we haven’t. You know, it keeps coming back sometimes so I love that there are so many manifestations of that sort of expressions and, you know, with Nakia, Nakia’s got her little knots and then she’s got a fro, you know, what I mean and then and Okoye loves her bald head and she doesn’t like to wear wigs. She said why am I wearing this thing on my head? It makes no sense.
Black Panther everywhere Feb 16th, 2018
Images via Disney Pr/Marvel Studios/Natasha C. Nicholes