Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o strikes a yoga pose on the January cover of Vogue, telling the magazine about her role in the highly anticipated Marvel movie, “Black Panther”.
The “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” actress spent four hours a day for six weeks in a boot camp learning how to fight before filming even began. “My character fights with anything: guns, spears, ring blades, shoes, glass,” she says of the film, which she calls “brave for an action film.”
Based on a Marvel character that debuted in 1966, the film sees Nyong’o play Nakia, the bodyguard and love interest of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa – aka Black Panther – the leader of an advanced African nation called Wakanda, a land that has never been colonized or pressured by outside influence.
“For me, as an African who lives outside Africa and wrestles with that dichotomy of tradition and modernity, this is almost healing,” the Kenyan-born Nyong’o says. “It’s nice to see that flipped. The little Kenyan child in me leaped for joy because it’s such an affirmation,” she explains. “What colonialism does is cause an identity crisis about one’s own culture.”
Nyong’o and Boseman had fun on set, despite the rigorous training schedule.
“Chadwick had a live drummer come in as we worked out, and it was so cool—it changes your sense of internal rhythm,” Nyong’o says. Her co-star says the 34-year-old actress is one of the most organized and curious people he has ever worked with.
“She’s very inquisitive in the way she works; she’s very detailed,” Boseman adds. “She probably has the most organized script I’ve ever seen: The pages are colour-coded with Post-its and notes. On set, she’s not going to let the camera operators, the cinematographer, or the director go without answering the questions she has.”
And while Nyong’o enjoys asking questions, there are a few she won’t answer herself, namely when it comes to her love life.
“You can ask, but you definitely won’t get an answer. There have been rumours and rumours and rumours about my love life,” she teases. “That’s the one area that I really like to hold close to my heart.”
“Black Panther” opens Feb. 16 in theatres.