Danai Gurira recalls her surreal meeting with Ryan Coogler and her early expectations of "Black Panther"
(LOS ANGELES) — After becoming the highest-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe film in its first week — and the second-highest grossing movie in history in any movie’s second frame — Black Panther star Danai Gurira deserves some major bragging rights. However, Gurira, who plays Okoye– general of Wakanda’s royal guard, the Dora Milaje– says even though she felt “deeply” about the film, she could have never predicted its stunning success.
“I really felt something deeply powerful was happening when I sat down first with Mr. Ryan Coogler,” Gurira tells ABC Radio, recalling her first meeting with the film’s director. “And heard his vision and saw that this is something that was going on a Disney, Marvel, platform– with that vision. I felt something very powerful was happening.”
Danai says that surreal moment — meeting the film’s director and having him detail her character– made her immediately want to get on board.
“I kind of floated away as I was leaving. I don’t know where,” Gurira recalled. “I was floating around the Marvel offices for about a half an hour. I don’t know where the heck I was, because I was just so amazed by the fact this was happening and the fact that he wanted me to be a part of it. So I know there was something resonate in it. Something beautiful and powerful and unprecedented about his vision.”
Even with Coogler’s amazing vision, which made the cast essentially “put [their] all into it,” Danai admits she was still uncertain on just how successful Black Panther would be.
“But then at the end of the day it’s like we all had a baby and we’re like, ‘We all hope ya’ll think it’s cute!’ So you just don’t know, until it’s out there,” she says.
Black Panther is in theaters now, by Marvel Studios which, like ABC News, is owned by Disney.
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