Huge things are expected of Marvel’s long-awaited BLACK PANTHER and with just another week to go till release, Toronto Fans were treated to a celebratory Canadian Premiere for the Ryan Coogler-directed Film. Fans queued hours for a chance at rush tickets to the event graced by none other than star Danai Gurira, known best for her work on AMC’s acclaimed series The Walking Dead as Michonne.
The groundbreaking Blockbuster comes with raves based on its Los Angeles Premiere last week and members of the Cast were just in South Korea to promote the Film too.
BLACK PANTHER is set in a technologically-advanced African nation called Wakanda, where upon the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) rises to the throne as a successor king. He summons the help of the warriors Dora Milaje led by Okoye (Danai Gurira), his estranged wife Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and sister Shuri (LetitiaWright), among others to defend what he is due by birthright. Unexpected challengers surface suddenly to overthrow him, also threatening to cause chaos in the world with weapons made from a precious element native to Wakanda called Vibranium.
We ask a dazzling Gurira dressed in black and gold, about being approached by Coogler who admittedly had never seen The Walking Dead when reaching out to her.
Gurira: “He had seen me in a Movie that was same time as Fruitvale Station at Sundance and that Movie was called The Mother of George. So it was from that quiet Indie he became interested in working with me. This came to pass and he wrote a role with me in mind. As an Actor, nothing really tops that because I had so much respect for him. I was just so proud of him, this young man who came out of grad school and made this type of an impact. He’s so humble, so sweet, such a good guy.”.
One of the greatest things about BLACKPANTHER is its element of humour and often we see its characters are aware of the world beyond Wakanda. Likewise, Gurira’s Okoye keeps Boseman‘s T’Challa in-check when he struggles. We ask her about her experience working with the Film’s leading man.
Gurira: “He’s such a fantastic quintessential leading man. He really helms things with a quiet, calm energy that just allows everyone to feel valued and connected to him. He’s an astounding collaborator and he respects people’s thoughts and opinions. He’s a deep thinker and a great writer and storyteller himself. Working with him is really easy.”
Gurira tells us the toughest part about getting into Okoye‘s headspace.
Gurira: “I’m not as much a traditionalist as she is, I’m more a modernist. I loved that about her and I understood it, but it wasn’t where I come from. But really this let me connect more deeply with the essence to really what Wakanda speaks to, which is African self-determination. That to me is something I totally can latch-on to, this idea of a nation that has never been colonized and a need to protect that. That I could connect to.”.
Hover left and right to see photos of Gurira on tonight’s Carpet:
The Canadian Premiere saw local talent like Kardinal Offishall, Jazz Cartier, Pree and Arkells come out to show their support. We had the pleasure of speaking to Kardinal Offishall, Priya and Arkells about what BLACK PANTHER means to them.
Kardinal Offishall: “I think since the time I was a kid, the possibility that there could be something that took place – even though it’s fictional – in a world dominated by people of colour, used to be unbelievable. It’s not a Movie that is going to be limited to people of colour as the story is universal. It’s just going to be amazing for everyone to watch this Movie. I think positive imagery that shows people who look like me in a different light, these are all things that are super-necessary, especially for the time we’re living in.”.
Offishall admits he has heard Soundtrack (out Friday, February 9, 2018 via Universal Music Canada) single All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar and SZA, thus far and gives a vote of confidence, stating “Kendrick having a hand in forming what it’s gonna sound like, I’m sure sonically it’s gonna be incredible.”.
Arkells: “Normally when we’re invited to these things, we’re on the road. On Twitter I saw last week people were going nuts about this Movie.”.
On their four JUNO nominations today, lead singer Max Kerman admits, “We planned on getting no JUNO nominations.”. The Band does plan to be in Vancouver for the Awards on Sunday, March 25, 2018 airing on CBC at 8:00 PM ET.
Also don’t forget to check-out the BLACKPANTHER EXPERIENCE as it tours Southern Ontario. It allows you to connect BLACKPANTHER to upcoming release AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and witness Black Panther in marvelous AR Technology. Stops are as follows:
Winterlude Festival – February 9-11
Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP – February 13
CN Tower – February 17 & 18
Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough – February 20