With the US release of Black Panther rapidly approaching, here is an introduction to five members of the cast.
CHADWICK BOSEMAN, T’Challa/Black Panther
Boseman, 41, sits on the throne of Wakanda. The American actor is not afraid of taking on big roles in biopic films. He played titular roles in Marshall (2017), Get On Up (2014), and 42 (2013). Fans were introduced to Boseman as the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War during the airport fight scene. Boseman found out that he would be starring in Black Panther while screening Get on Up in Zurich. He was excited to receive the call and said yes without hesitation.
“[Marvel has] a good batting average,” Boseman said.
MICHAEL B JORDAN, Erik Killmonger
Jordan, 31, has moved out of the ring in Creed (2015) to the fighting grounds of Wakanda. He will be playing the villain – the first time he’s ever fought against the hero in a film – competing with “T’Challa” (Boseman) to lead Wakanda. Born in Santa Ana, CA, Jordan is known for acting in television dramas The Wire (2002) and Friday Night Lights (2006). The latter of which he starred as troubled quarterback Vince Howard for two seasons. After wrapping Black Panther, Jordan made his directorial debut with Brisk’s new 30-second spot. There is more to come this year for the California native as he is slated to direct an upcoming feature as well as star in Creed II.
ANGELA BASSETT, Ramonda
Bassett, 59, born and raised in New York City, NY, holds an impressive resume over the last three decades. She portrays the elegant stepmother of “T’Challa” (Boseman). Bassett recalls the heroes in films she looked up earlier in her career. “When I was growing up, I had Superfly, I had Shaft, those were the guys who were taking down the bad guys,” she told Entertainment Weekly. For Bassett, Black Panther fulfilled a long-awaited dream.
“I never thought I was going to be able to see that in my day. To be able to portray a queen…I thought, ‘Hey, it’s got to be possible in some mythological, mystical, make-believe world.'”
LUPITA NYONG’O, Nakia
Nyong’O, 34, plays a member of the Dora Milaje, the women who serve as special forces to the kingdom of Wakanda and bodyguards of the Black Panther. Her breakthrough came in Steve McQueen’s gripping historical drama, 12 Years a Slave (2013). Nyong’O won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as “Patsey” in the film.
“I was heartbroken by her story,” Nyong’O said. “I recognized then that I had a lot of work to do to get to a point where I could play her, because feeling that kind of sympathy for someone is no way to actually inhabit them. She was just simple and she was trying to get by on a daily basis. She’s not sentimental about her pain. I had to have the same kind of attitude.”
DANAI GURIRA, Okoye
Gurira, 39, replaces her katana with a Wakanda spear as the general of the Wakandan army and the Dora Milaje. The female celebrity struck stardom for her role as “Michonne” in AMC’s hit horror series, The Walking Dead. Gurira and her female costars enjoy how Wakandan society is not patriarchal nor limits to what men and women could be. In response to a question about the equality seen in Wakanda’s social hierarchy, Gurira had this to say:
“Why not! It really does make you say, ‘Why Not’? To me, it’s about equality, and allowing each gender to come to the fullness of their potential without discriminatory hindrances. That is what this nation figured out,” she told Entertainment Weekly.