Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is packed with emotional moments that punch directly at the heart, and there are few quite as powerful as the exchange between Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda in the Wakandan throne room. The former reports to the latter that Shuri (Letitia Wright) has been kidnapped by the warriors from Talocan, and the passion that is expressed in the moment from both performers physically pushes you into the back of your chair. It’s some of the best acting featured in the film, and that can in part be credited to the awesome collaboration between the stars.
Speaking with the cast and filmmakers of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever during the movie’s Los Angeles press day late last month, I specifically asked Danai Gurira about the scene in question – both in terms of the emotional perspective of her character and working with Angela Bassett. She began by explaining what the moment means for Okoye, as Shuri’s kidnapping is a painful failure for the character given her position as the leader of the Dora Milaje – and yet she also doesn’t anticipate the consequences that are delivered. Said Gurira,
In the context of the scene (which I won’t further spoil here), the kidnapping of Shuri is just the latest tragedy to befall Wakanda – and Okoye is already weighed down with guilt and mourning following the death of King T’Challa. It’s a hard time for her, and the horrible energy of everything explodes when it collides with the intense pain felt by Queen Ramonda, who fears that her entire family has been ripped away from her.
One could imagine that just a single take of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever exchange between the characters would be enough to wipe out the performers, but it took much more than that, and it only makes the moment in the blockbuster greater knowing the lengths to which Danai Gurira and Angela Bassett went in order to ensure the work was perfect. When the scene was being captured from multiple angles, it didn’t matter who was on camera and who wasn’t; both of them gave it their all in every take. Said Gurira,
It seemingly wasn’t something that either actor had to ask for – it was just about both of them doing their part as members of the production. She continued,
Also featuring terrific performances from Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, and Martin Freeman, the critically acclaimed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters everywhere.
For more about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can read our ranking of the MCU movies, and learn about the intricacies of the Marvel timeline. To learn about all of the projects that are in the works from Marvel Studios, check out our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides.
NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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