I loved chatting with BLACK PANTHER’s Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright about their roles in the film! I enjoyed hearing all about their characters and how hey believe the black experience in celebrated this movie.
One of my favorite interviews during the BLACK PANTHER movie event in Los Angeles last month was with Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi) and Letitia Wright (Shuri)! Both actors hailing from London, they were absolutely hilarious together and got along very well. They have such a passion for this film and really got into the roles they played. They talked a bit about the training for fight scenes, how the black hairstyles came about, and how they believe the real life black experience plays out in the film.
Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright Talk About Their Roles
Daniel Kaluuya plays W’Kabi, T’Challa’s close friend and member of the Wakandan security team. He spoke to us about the training they went through for this movie. “We had so much sword training. I had to start from scratch. So, we had to kind of learn, I think what was amazing, everyone had to have their own fighting style that reflects their character. So, W’Kabi is more like a fierce, ruthless, kind of like [fighter]. We kind of learned how to do the base [styles of fighting] of certain stars that were in the African community in Africa.” Kaluuya says that sometimes they’d do fight scenes and took all of what they learned and got creative in the moment. The fight scenes and action parts of the film are amazing!
Letitia Wright plays Shuri, T’Challa’s little sister and princess of Wakanda. She is the brains of the bunch, spearheading the technological advancements in Wakanda, and she is trusted to do so! And y’all – she is a science and tech loving princess who wears BRAIDS! When she was considering the role of Shuri, she knew that it was a big one for little girls everywhere, and that it would be inspirational. “When this opportunity came up, I understood 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.” Wright was able to play the role in an honest manner, and she also said, “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.” I love this girl!
The Black Experience: As told by Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright
Both Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright spoke to the real life Black experience as it relates to the movie. Letitia spoke about her braids and the other hair styles that the black women wore in the film. Many of the styles were up to date and actually happened on the fly! The team settled on braids for her, but she has a few other fun styles done with those braids in some scenes of the movie, just like many black women and girls do in real life. Have you ever seen any princesses with braids?! “The first scene we tried on this outfit that Ruth [Carter] created with the cape and all of that stuff and the silver skirt. And then I put my braids into two separate buns just for fun, and then Ryan [Coogler] was filming a scene then and you have to go kind of like show and tell [your outfit] in between. Then he’s like, ‘is that how your hair’s gonna be?’ And I’m just like, ‘no, no, no! [Ryan said] ‘No, it feels like princess Lea.’ Then I went to Nikki [hair stylist], I was like, ‘I think he likes it!’” Wear your hair the way YOU want, and wear it proud, ladies!
Daniel Kaluuya feels that there are a few different messages that speak to the Black experience. The villain [Killmonger] in the movie deals with pain and trauma in his life and deals with it in an interesting way. Kaluuya says, “It’s how he’s decided to deal with grief, what is there to do with pain, and how you deal with pain really informs how you move forward. And it informs who you are and what you do and the energies and the people that are around you. As black people there’s everyday pain.” I completely understand what he’s getting at. Kaluuya also said, “A lot of our films and a lot of our content is dealing with trauma. What’s amazing about this is it deals with this and it talks about these two roads. You don’t have to go down that road.”
And possibly my favorite quote from Daniel Kaluuya from the whole interview, when asked about the message the movie gives that he hopes viewers will receive: “It’s about joy, it’s about brother and sister, it’s about family, it’s about it’s communities, about nation, it’s about pride. It means that so many people are being seen more widely and proud. So, all black experience it’s being touched upon within this film.” Let em know, Daniel!
Don’t miss BLACK PANTHER’s Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright in the movie!
I love these two and I appreciate their insight on their characters and their personal points of view about the film. Your daughters will LOVE Shuri, she’s funny, smart, witty, creative, and let’s all of Wakanda know, and doesn’t apologize for it! W’Kabi’s character is great, too, and Kaluuya does a heck of a job playing it. Head to the theater next weekend to see Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright, Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER comes out on February 16, 2018!
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I am attending a press trip courtesy of Disney. Travel, lodging and other logistics are provided, opinions are those of Honey + Lime.