While at TIFF, Steve Weintraub had a chance to sit down with Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o to chat a bit about her upcoming role in the dramatic biopic, Queen of Katwe. That film, premiering at TIFF but opening wide in theaters starting September 30th, tells the true inspirational story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) who rose from the slums of her city to chase her dream of becoming a grandmaster. Nyong’o stars as her mother, Harriet, who “is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads.”
In addition to talking about that film, Steve also chatted with Nyong’o about her upcoming roles in Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: Episode VIII and Ryan Coogler‘s Black Panther, two high-profile films that carry a lot of anticipation from fans all over the world. Surprisingly, Nyong’o has yet to do any work on the latest Star Wars flick even though production wrapped back in late July. Neither has she done any physical training to prepare for the 2018 Marvel film just yet. Not surprising, however, is that Nyong’o is excited to get to work on both films.
Here’s what she had to say concerning Star Wars: Episode VIII:
What was it like working with Rian [Johnson]?
NYONG’O: Rian! I haven’t worked with him yet; I’ve yet to shoot. That’s in my future.
Nyong’o was introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the wise Maz Kanata, a character whose power was only hinted at, and whose most impressive scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Clearly we’ll see more of Kanata in the follow-up film, even if her performance will be captured in post-production, but much of her story remains a mystery.
As for Black Panther, we at least have some comic book precedent for her character Nakia. Chosen as a child by her tribal elders to be one of the “Adored Ones,” a.k.a. Dora Milaje, Nakia spent three years training before being presented to King T’Challa as a teenager. She’s smitten with him despite the ceremonial nature of her role, which, along with her friendship with fellow Milaje Okoye (Danai Gurira), complicates her responsibilities.
Here’s what she had to say about the Marvel film:
How excited are you for Black Panther?
NYONG’O: I am so excited. I can’t wait to kick ass and learn all sorts of cool things that my body can do. I’m so looking forward to it, to work with Ryan Coogler who’s such an incredible human being. It’s gonna be fun, and the cast. The cast!
After checking out Queen of Katwe this September, keep an eye out for Nyong’o in Star Wars: Episode VIII in theaters December 15, 2017, and Marvel’s Black Panther on February 16, 2018.