You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Black Panther’ Star Danai Gurira On Film’s Oscar Buzz, Coming Up With ‘Funny’ Sequel Ideas

Danai Gurira insists that the cast and crew of “Black Panther” were not thinking about Oscar buzz while they were making the Ryan Coogler-directed film.

“My mind did not quite get there,” Gurira tells Variety while promoting her World AIDS Day work with Johnson & Johnson (more on that in a second). “We did know that there definitely was a hunger for this type of story. We had it. Growing up you want to see superheroes who look like yourself. That’s the whole point. As a kid you want to see something or someone who looks like you.

“We understood there was a responsibility upon us to tell this story and to celebrate the fact it was actually happening,” said Gurira, who kicked ass in the Marvel blockbuster as Okoye.

As for the upcoming sequel, Gurira says she has no details to share but did reveal that she and co-star Letita Wright have an idea for the second film — kinda.

“We had one funny idea, but we were just joking,” she said. “It was really funny and Ryan thought it was hilarious.”

Gurira politely declined to elaborate. “I don’t know if I can. I have to check first,” she said, laughing. “Let me investigate and get back to you.”

On a more serious note, Gurira has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson on the company’s “Make HIV History” initiative to promote the eradication of HIV/AIDS.

“I was raised in southern Africa in Zimbabwe in the ‘80s and ‘90s so I really witnessed the way HIV and AIDS effected the very tapestry of life and our communities and families,” Gurira said. “It’s definitely very dire for African women and has been and often they are the ones least heard.”

One of Gurira’s first plays she wrote (she’s a celebrated playwright in addition to being an actress) was “In the Continuum,” about two women facing their HIV diagnosis.

“What’s factual is that this is something that we have not eradicated,” she said. “Even right now, we have the highest rate of infections since 1993. That’s something we need to be very aware of. We must really reengage this issue. We have to focus on eradication and we haven’t gotten there.”

Gurira remains hopeful that she will see this eradication in her lifetime. “I believe we can get there,” she said. “It’s encouraging to me to see vaccine trials. It’s been done before with other epidemics throughout history.”

Gurira is encouraging people to post Johnson & Johnson #makeHIVhistory GIFs on their social media feeds for Wolds AIDS Day, Dec. 1. The GIFs can be found by typing #makeHIVhistory into the GIF search on Instagram Stories.

More Film

  • Gravitas Ventures Acquires Irish Film ‘Lost

    Gravitas Ventures Acquires Irish Comedy ‘Lost & Found’

    Irish writer/director Liam O Mochain’s third feature film, “Lost & Found,” has been picked up by Gravitas Ventures for all rights worldwide, excluding Ireland, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The film was recently acquired by Rialto Film Distribution for Australia and New Zealand, Film 4 and High Fliers for the U.K., and RTE TV in [...]

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Anonymous Content Adds Meredith Rothman to

    Anonymous Content Adds Meredith Rothman to Management Division (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has added Meredith Rothman to its management division, Variety has learned. She joins the company from Mosaic, where she spent the last five years as a talent and literary manager. Rothman started her career working for casting director Francine Maisler and later worked as an assistant at Independent Talent Group in London. She [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Could Tangle Up to $40 Million in Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is dominating the domestic box office as it heads for up to $40 million in its opening weekend at 3,813 North American locations, early estimates showed on Friday. Clint Eastwood’s drug-runner drama “The Mule” should finish second with about $18 million at 2,558 venues, at the high end of expectations. MRC-Universal’s [...]

  • Guillermo del Toro's 'Scary Stories to

    Guillermo del Toro's 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' Set for August Release

    Lionsgate and CBS Films have set Guillermo del Toro’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” for an Aug. 9 release. The adaptation cast Michael Garza, Austin Abrams, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur and Natalie Ganzhorn with production started in late August. Del Toro is producing the teen thriller with his “Shape of Water” producer J. [...]

  • Celebrities Sound Off on 2018

    Celebrities Pick Their Favorite Movies and TV Shows of 2018

    Still looking for the latest and greatest movie, TV series or book to finish before the year is out? Why not ask the folks behind Hollywood’s favorite hits, what they’re reading and viewing this 2018. We reached out to the stars and creators behind the things you love (including Barry Jenkins, Steven Canals and Dan Levy)  to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content