Miller Mobley/The Hollywood Reporter
For Lupita Nyong'o, representation is paramount.
Black Panther will premiere in theaters nationwide on Feb. 16, and industry analysts say the Marvel movie is on track to earn between $100 million and $120 million at the U.S. box office. As the first comic book adaptation to feature a largely black cast, Black Panther stars Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker and Letitia Wright. Nyong'o met director Ryan Coogler on the award circuit in 2013, and three years later, as she was starring on Broadway in Eclipsed, "Marvel called and said that Ryan was interested in me for a role in Panther," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I talked to him about it, and obviously everything was hush-hush, but he walked me through his initial ideas, and I thought, 'Wait a minute? This is a Marvel movie?'"
Nyong'o agreed to star in the movie without reading the script—and she didn't receive it until shooting began. "She's an incredibly serious actress. She does a lot of homework, asks a lot of hard questions. At the same time, she's got an incredible sense of humor. She'd poke fun at me a lot," Coogler reveals in the magazine's Jan. 25 issue, out now. "On one of our last days, she and [co-star] Letitia Wright got the crew T-shirts with all the things I said collected on the back."