Anthony Hopkins and Angela Bassett share a somewhat similar space in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bassett stars in the “Black Panther” films as Queen Ramonda, mother of T’Challa and Shuri and ruler of Wakanda. Hopkins was a fixture of the “Thor” franchise as Odin, Thor’s father and the ruler of Asgard. Both actors play Marvel royalty, but their set experiences couldn’t have been more different. After all, Hopkins infamously wrote “No Acting Required” on his script for the original “Thor.”
“I try to apply it to everything I do: no acting required,” Hopkins told The New Yorker in 2021 about acting in Marvel movies. “On ‘Thor,’ you have Chris Hemsworth—who looks like Thor—and a director like Kenneth Branagh, who is so certain of what he wants. They put me in armor; they shoved a beard on me. Sit on the throne; shout a bit. If you’re sitting in front of a green screen, it’s pointless acting it.”
In a new interview with The New Yorker, Bassett responded to Hopkins’ experience by stressing just how different the set for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was compared to Hopkins’ green-screen heavy description of the “Thor” set”
“The throne room was there, the floor of red clay, the elevation with the Dora Milaje flanking around, the grand doors that they walk through,” Bassett said. “So maybe you don’t see the world of Wakanda, but we had that. When Shuri and I went out into the wild, we had trees and bushes and water for yards and yards and yards, and Namor came up out of the water and flew to us. We had the entire ship, and the attention to detail inside of it was just magnificent. So I had it much better than Anthony Hopkins. I’m sorry for him.”
“We were in Wakanda, and we know Wakanda is special,” Bassett continued. “We had Shuri’s lab. We had the elevator opening up. We had a fake elephant and her baby come in. Of course, they made the generated elephant later, but at least we had an elephant to respond to.”
The tangibility to the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” set only helped Bassett’s performance as Queen Ramonda, which is currently the frontrunner to win the Oscar for best supporting actress. Bassett has already picked up trophies from the Golden Globe Awards and the Critics Choice Awards this awards season, and she’s also nominated at the upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is now streaming on Disney+.