“There’s not a lot of sets you can go on where you can genuinely feel like you have a family.” Letitia Wright (who plays Shuri) says on Entertainment Weekly interview, “When you come onto a Black Panther set, it’s just the richness of culture, you know? The richness of every department thriving to fulfill this beautiful story.” The actress continues, whether it’s finding specific material from Africa or production design, the crew commits and ‘pour love’ into everything they can when making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“It makes the love for the continent of Africa so profound,” Letitia adds, “That’s been special.”
“You go to this set the first time and multiple times and every single time you feel like you are safe-–you are in a safe place with all these people just giving their best.” Tenoch Huerta (who plays Namor) shares that the environment very much helped the actors in contributing to making the movie great, with everybody working just as hard to collaborate and make this an unforgettable experience.
“I think what’s super cool about, like, the Marvel projects is just like the scale. If you have to do something, they’ll build it.” Winston Duke (who plays M’Baku) sets a scene from the first Black Panther movie as an example, where T’Challa saves the women in the rainforest. “People really thought that was really somewhere in Africa, but that was really just in the studio. It’s really cool being on these sets where they invest in our ability to kind of, like, imagine these spaces, so you really feel like you’re there.” Winston adds, “That’s like, my favorite thing in all of this. You get to play in this crazy, like, real-life playground.”
Black Panther 2 Cast Took Diving Lessons for Underwater Scenes
The cast praise the production design by even saying that the set included ‘serious research’ by inviting scholars and ethnic consultants, how to deliver the language and accent accurately to transform it on screen.
Tenoch talked about the time he was called for the role, which required him to know how to swim, which he did not learn until he was casted. Before shooting, he was given diving classes along with the other cast members. They were trained in a 20-foot tank to learn proper underwater breathing in preparation for underwater scenes.
The Cast Share Their Thoughts on What Makes Black Panther 2 Script Special: ‘It’s Never Black and White’
“Not all scripts are made equal.” Winston shares what always surprises him about the Black Panther script, “When I first read it, I was like, this is incredible. The set pieces really convey a lot of story and they have a really interesting, wonderful way of knowing what’s gonna hit you here.” He says while tapping on his heart, emphasizing how emotionally driven it must have been.
In fact, the script feels so close to reality that Winston calls the alleged villains as ‘antagonists’ instead. “You don’t go, ‘It’s a bad dude’, you go, ‘Oh, I kinda understand what this dude’s talking about. I understand what she means, I understand what he means, what they mean'—it’s never black and white.”
Tenoch adds his sentiment, “They keep going with the script, and every version is better and better and better, and when you do something on the set, next time, what you discover in that scene is in the next version. It affects the next version. So it’s alive.”
“It’s a living script.” Winston puts it simply.
The Cast Are Fond of The Director’s Method During Shooting
“It’s a little bit like life imitating art and art imitating life. He took everything that I was feeling and processing and just as a human being in this situation, he put it into Shuri and we followed that in a way that’s really relatable and I just found that to be refreshing.”
Letitia recalls the time Director Ryan Coogler would improvise on making Shuri’s character parallel to how the actress was feeling in delivering and executing her scenes. She calls the Director ‘very collaborative’ and ‘very sensitive’ to the point where whenever Ryan would feel something does not feel right, he would change it to make it more befitting.
“It allowed me to have a vessel of what I was feeling into this character.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to premiere on November 11, 2022.