Lupita Nyong’o is the cover star for The Hollywood Reporter’s new issue.
In the cover feature, the award-winning actress opened up about coming to grips with stardom, the pressures of personifying Black beauty and the experience of making “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” while grieving her friend Chadwick Boseman.
See excerpts below:
On Chadwick Boseman before and after his sad passing:
Nyong’o had known Boseman was sick but not that he was terminally ill, and she learned of his death in a text from Viola Davis. “I couldn’t believe it,” Nyong’o says. “I was paralyzed.” For her, as for many of the film’s cast and crew, Boseman had been much more than a colleague; he had been a kind of spiritual anchor. “He had an aura,” Nyong’o says. “He was the leader, and we were all good with it.”
Nyong’o watched how Boseman carried the responsibility of being the lead on a massive movie and also how he maintained his boundaries. “There were moments when Chadwick said no to me, and I was not happy with him,” she says. “I fought tooth and nail to change his mind, and he would ever so quietly be like, ‘I know, but no,’ with love.” Once, she wanted him to come to South Africa with her and Danai Gurira to promote Black Panther. “I felt it was important to have him on the continent, as an African American coming to South Africa. I thought that was a potent symbol, and he wouldn’t go,” Nyong’o says. “Now I understand he was battling cancer and probably had medical reasons. I tried everything. I tried charm. I debated him on the political front, and he smiled, he sighed, and he was just like, ‘I know, Lupita. I can’t go.’ ” Instead, Boseman sent a message along with her and Gurira. “He affected how I move in the world,” Nyong’o says. “But that’s the thing about Chadwick. Chadwick wasn’t trying to have everyone be like him. What he inspired was you to be your best self. So how I’m going to lead a set is nowhere near — I’m not that person. I’m not Chadwick at all. I’ll never be.”
Director, Ryan Coogler and executive producer, Nate Moore on Lupita Nyong’o’s role in the forthcoming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
“She would be down there holding her breath and carrying giant weights through the water,” Moore says. “Nothing we’d asked her to do, by the way. We were like, ‘What is this lady doing?’ She was so intent on being believably comfortable in the water. She wanted to be as much of an expert as possible. And it shows. She was able to do things other cast members weren’t because she was just so intent on going above and beyond to make sure this character felt real.” Nyong’o, Coogler says, has “grit.” “With Lupita, what you see is what you get,” he says. “She’s smart, cultured, gifted. She’s very confident and knows who she is. If ever she makes a choice that doesn’t feel true to herself, she’ll stop herself.”
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