Letitia Wright captured everyone's attention when she starred in Black Panther alongside industry greats Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, and Daniel Kaluuya. She played Shuri, sister to Boseman’s T’Challa, and so losing him in 2020 to cancer was like losing her brother, she reveals in a raw new interview.
She even admitted that she found it “tough” to even perform in the new sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever without her “brother”.
“We had up and down days where you could tell people were grieving,” she told The Guardian. “We were able to be there for each other on set and be sensitive to the days when we didn’t feel so good about being on set because you’re missing someone; you’re missing your brother.”
“Grief was at my doorstep every day while I was filming,” she candidly admits.
Speaking with People, the actress shared that whenever she was struggling during the filming of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, she would call on Boseman to help her power through. "I will always have moments on set of doubt, and I'll be like, 'Oh man, I don't know if I can do this.' I could just hear [Boseman] be like, 'Sister, you're great. You got this. I'm proud of you,'" she recalled.
"I feel like it's a love letter to him," she said of the film on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. "I know every day that I went on set, I focused my energy on each scene to dedicate it to him. I wanted to dedicate excellence to this film so that he could be proud."
Speaking with The Guardian, she went into detail about the moment she learned Boseman was not long for this world, and how she had a very physical reaction to the news.
After explaining that she didn’t understand the sympathy messages she was receiving, she told the outlet, “I was like, ‘My condolences for what?’ Then I clicked out of that email and kept just seeing Chadwick Boseman, Chadwick Boseman, Chadwick Boseman. I was like, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ I clicked on one, and it was the PR team saying, ‘Do you want to write a statement?’ Statement? What’s going on?”
Saying that it was co-star Daniel Kaluuya who had to confirm the sad news to her on the phone, she continued, “I was punching my apartment up, I was screaming. I was just so angered. I was like, ‘Bro, Daniel, this is not happening’, but his silence spoke so loudly. And he just came immediately from where he was to comfort me.”
Perhaps Letitia’s biggest regret was not being able to tell Boseman how much she looked up to him. "I wish I had got to say goodbye. I wish that I could tell him how much he inspired me," she wrote in her British Vogue tribute. "How cherished he is by the world. How grateful I am to him for seeing me, a young Black woman from Guyana... How his yes for me to be a part of his world changed my life forever."
She went on to talk about what grief at her doorstep has taught her. “You think you have time, and that’s the thing I’ve learned. These things make you realize it’s important to reach out to people you love,” she told The Guardian.
“The amount of times I text my cast members to tell them I love them, especially Danai [Gurira]. I’m always texting Ryan [Coogler] that I love him, and asking him how he is.”
“I’m not going to delay that anymore because tomorrow’s not promised,” she added. “Since Chad died, I’m so afraid to lose people.”