Letitia Wright on Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, and 'Family Matters' | Screen Tests

In this Screen Tests interview, British-Guyanese actress Letitia Wright talks about how she got the role of Shuri in 'Black Panther', falling in love with Chadwick Boseman, the power of 'Wakanda Forever', her first big break as Chantelle in 'Top Boy' (which she compares to 'The Wire'), her favorite TV shows, her favorite toy, the struggle of leaving her friends and family behind in London for America, and her secret skill.

Released on 7/23/2018

Credits

Starring: Letitia Wright

Transcript

00:00
The audition process for Black Panther
00:03
was super simple at the beginning.
00:05
It was just sending tapes of myself
00:09
doing some, like, mock scenes.
00:11
A month later, I was told
00:14
they needed me in Los Angeles,
00:16
and Chadwick came in.
00:17
It was like I found my lost big brother
00:20
that I'd never had before.
00:21
I just kind of fell in love with Chadwick Boseman
00:24
as my big brother, yeah. How could you not?
00:26
Not a bad chap to fall in love with.
00:29
And I went back home to London,
00:31
and I was leaving my house,
00:33
and my agent texted me, as he does.
00:36
And he's just like, Call me when you can.
00:37
And I was like, Okay, God, this is about Black Panther.
00:40
And he's like, You booked the role
00:42
of Shuri in Black--
00:43
and I screamed, I was at the bus stop
00:46
about to get the bus.
00:48
Um, that's when life was normal
00:50
and I could get the bus.
00:52
I can't now. (chuckles)
00:58
And I was like, Yes, Jesus!
01:00
Yeah!
01:01
And people were like passin' in the road like,
01:02
What is going on with that girl at the bus stop?
01:05
Like, she's getting a bit rowdy over there.
01:08
And then the bus came,
01:09
tapped my Oyster card,
01:11
which, equivalent to a Metro card.
01:14
And I sat there amongst these amazing,
01:17
beautiful people going to the station,
01:19
and I just booked the biggest role of my life.
01:22
I was not a comic book fan.
01:24
No. (Lynn laughs)
01:26
Uh-uh.
01:28
Comic books?
01:29
What are they? Yeah.
01:30
I'll be honest, I wasn't super into it.
01:33
I love indie films so much.
01:35
Like, I love art house films.
01:37
That's what gets me going.
01:39
I can sit down and watch Whiplash like 5,000 times.
01:43
You know, that's what I love.
01:44
Black Panther pretty much changed
01:46
the way I thought about big blockbuster movies.
01:50
It was like, no, you can have
01:52
blockbuster movies with meaning.
01:54
Yeah, so I started to pack up,
01:57
started to get ready to face the world on my own.
02:01
I've been living with my mom
02:03
and traveling back and forth from home
02:05
to different places in the UK,
02:07
but never having to uproot and leave the country,
02:09
and be without with my mom, and my dad,
02:12
and my family, and my church community.
02:15
Like, it was new for me,
02:17
but I took it in a brave way.
02:21
And my sister came me this little duck, pink duck,
02:24
it's called Quackalax.
02:25
Don't ask me why she called these teddy bear things names,
02:29
but she gave it to me for safety and protection.
02:32
And Quackalax was my protection.
02:35
In our world, it was Wakanda forever.
02:38
It was important to us.
02:39
I don't think we kind of prepared ourselves
02:44
for the fact that everyone in the world
02:46
was gonna adapt this into their every day life.
02:51
We just thought, It's a movie.
02:53
You know, you do it,
02:55
and then everybody loves it,
02:56
then they move on.
02:57
Yeah. Mm-mm.
02:59
Wakanda forever is a thing in our society.
03:02
Favorite TV show, Full House.
03:05
I had another one, it was Steve Urkel from Family Matters.
03:08
He was my favorite character.
03:10
Because, yeah, he was different,
03:12
you know, and he had a goal.
03:14
He wanted to make that girl his girlfriend,
03:16
and he didn't let his, his, his quirkiness get in the way.
03:21
And I liked it when he transformed into like--
03:24
he went into the refrigerator thing,
03:25
and he came out as Stefan. (Lynn laughs)
03:27
And he was, like, fine.
03:29
Oh, man, it was this, um--
03:31
(laughs)
03:33
Oh, God,
03:34
it was when I did this TV show called Top Boy.
03:37
It was a black blazer,
03:39
and a rose-gold-ish type dress.
03:42
And that was my 18th birthday
03:44
slash TV premiere day.
03:46
And it was the moment that everything
03:48
kind of changed for me.
03:50
It was kind of I was in hiding with my talent for so long.
03:54
And this TV show is pretty similar to the Wire,
03:58
so it brought in a lot of attention,
04:00
and I had to learn the good and the bad
04:02
of what that attention brings.
04:04
A favorite toy?
04:06
I didn't really have toys a lot.
04:08
I just had a bike, a black bike.
04:11
Um, I grew up in Guyana,
04:13
so I would ride that bike everywhere.
04:15
I got distracted one day,
04:16
and I slammed my foot down,
04:18
my right foot down on a nail,
04:21
and it went through my foot.
04:24
And it hurt.
04:25
And I never rode that bike again.
04:27
I can predict things before they happen.
04:29
Say for example, like,
04:32
I'm in a hotel room,
04:34
and then I can sense
04:35
exactly when the guy is gonna knock on the door
04:38
to, like, deliver food.
04:39
I'm like, He's gonna knock now, and then he knocks.
04:41
[Lynn] Can you use this to, like,
04:43
bet on the stock market or something like that?
04:45
I should.
04:47
I should navigate my skills in that direction,
04:50
and make hella money!