Lupita Nyong’o Says Speaking Spanish in ‘Black Panther’ Sequel Was a ‘Gift’
In a new roundtable interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actress Lupita Nyong’o opened up about how speaking Spanish in the new film fulfilled a lifelong dream. The Mexico-born actress is fluent in Spanish and said she was “so excited about” the opportunity to put those language skills to use on-screen.
“It was just a straight gift,” the actress said, surrounded by her co-stars alongside writer-director Ryan Coogler. “And I was very, very happy to do it… I’ve always wanted to work in Spanish and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that opportunity would come in ‘Black Panther.'”
Nyong’o recently posted a TikTok reminding her followers that she does, in fact, speak Spanish after singing along to a popular Juan Gabriel song while visiting Mexico for the “Wakanda Forever” press tour.
The actress was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents and explained how “this film represents different sides of my heritage.” She went on to say, “Being born in Mexico and having that Mesoamerican culture represented, it’s something that’s very close to me.”
Although this will be the first time Nyong’o speaks Spanish on the screen, the character’s multilingualism is something that had already been established in the first film, when Nakia speaks Korean during a scene set in Busan.
“I always thought that was a very cool thing from the last movie that she spoke Korean, and I always thought that had never been seen before,” she said, after mentioning how she considers the character’s mastery of multiple languages to be a superpower in its own right.
Elsewhere in the interview, the cast and crew opened up about embarking on “Wakanda Forever” without its titular character. Coogler described a conversation he had with Boseman before his death about introducing Indigenous Americans into the franchise.
“That was something he was fired up about,” Coogler said, adding, “He got the biggest smile, like, ‘They’re never going to see this coming. It’s awesome.'”
Nyong’o said that incorporating grief into the sequel’s story allowed the cast and crew to embrace something that had initially made them all hesitant to return for a second film.
“Coming back to Wakanda was kind of that delayed moment of a community that lost him, coming back together,” she said. “And so I was relieved personally that I didn’t have to pretend that I wasn’t going through grief and I could bring my grief to work and put it to good use.”