Musical star, voice actress, first black crime scene inspector in German television history and the international breakthrough in The First Avenger: Civil War – it seems as if there is nothing that Florence Kasumba cannot do. For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the in German cinemas since November 9, 2022 However, the German-Uganda actress had to face a completely new challenge: dealing with the loss of a friend in front of and behind the camera.
Chadwick Boseman aka T’Challa brought the cultural relevance of the MCU to a whole new level as Black Panther in 2018 and died of cancer in 2020. So the Marvel blockbuster has to do two things at the same time, be goodbye and new beginning at the same time. An extreme emotional situation, also for Florence Kasumba. But before I can ask my first question, the 46-year-old asks me one. The closest, after 160 minutes Wakanda Forever: “How did you feel afterwards?”
Shooting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was like trauma therapy—in front of and behind the camera
Ayo (Florence Kasumba, left) is one of the elite bodyguards of the Queen of Wakanda
Moviepilot: I find the film very impressive and also cried a bit. I got a call afterwards that almost immediately threw me into another sad situation. That overshadowed the whole thing. But I’m looking forward to seeing the film again.
Florence Kasumba: I saw the film for the first time a few days ago. In the beginning, of course, you are always a bit curious and ask yourself: What did we actually produce there? Of course I read the scripts, but how do I feel now a few months after the last day of shooting? what happened in life How do I deal with all these questions? What’s it like producing this film without Chadwick?
It’s all much easier for me now than it was a few months ago, when we were were at ComicCon for the first time and saw parts of the film for the first time. Then the reaction of the people, what does that mean – that was intense. I watched reaction videos. I’ve never seen so many guys cry. We’ve all felt this same pain and it unites you.
How did that feel for you and the rest of the cast when you saw the full movie for the first time?
I went through different stages in general. I’m abroad shooting a movie and I find out that Chadwick Boseman is no longer there. So I’m in shock, but I still have to work on the other production and I don’t even want to talk about it with the people who had nothing to do with Black Panther. I really haven’t talked about it for two and a half years, because that raised very personal questions for me that I don’t have to share with everyone. Since this loss plays a huge role in Wakanda Forever, I couldn’t help but deal with it during the shoot. And now I’m two, two and a half years further and have processed many things better.
Watch a scene from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever starring Florence Kasumba:
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Clip Attack on the Laboratory (German) HD
How was the shooting for you?
For me it was a completely new experience. I had never seen someone die not only in front of the camera, but also behind it. Some days were easy, all we in white [der Trauerfarbe in Wakanda] shooting was difficult. That was the only scene in my life that I’ve ever been really scared of. But I wasn’t alone and the film is a kind of therapy: I also have to do the grieving that my character does. There was no loneliness there. And that helped.
Florence Kasumba and Chadwick Boseman knew each other long before Black Panther
When you look back on the experience, is it positive or sad?
I wouldn’t rate it at all. There’s not just sadness there, but gratitude for knowing Chadwick and worked with him. I met him in South Africa in 2015 while filming an American series: Dominion. I was in South Africa for nine weeks and one night we had a dinner like that. He was in a completely different production, we happened to be sitting next to each other and had a really great chat the whole evening. Then he said: “Flo, I’ll be in Berlin in the summer. Maybe we’ll see you there!” That was for Civil War, which wasn’t really on my radar. He wasn’t even allowed to tell me what he was filming because we all sign an NDA. But I came to the set and thought to myself: Hey, I know this guy!
Look, you have to laugh now, but how do you think I laughed? I then meant like this: “Hey, we actually meet in Berlin.” I had a lot of those moments where we just had fun together. We trained together for months.
Was it already clear back then whether and how your role would continue?
I do not think so. At first it was all about these “Move or you will be moved”-Scene. We shot it and after that I went on vacation. I haven’t even seen the film. In retrospect, however, I was asked about it again and again and I wondered why it was such a big deal. Then I saw the movie and I was like, ah, okay, now I see why people like that. The thing is, I read the scene and knew: There’s a woman standing in front of me and if I had to get rid of them, it’s definitely physically possible. That’s probably why I came across as so decided. Maybe I would have played this differently if I knew who Black Widow was.
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So you weren’t in this Marvel cosmos before?
Not at all. I believe it is too It’s a good thing I didn’t know these films. I don’t even wonder what will happen in the future. I shot that, did my job and now just enjoy how it affects people. How people suddenly get proud and say: “Wow. Have you seen those outfits and the hair?” When you go to the cinema and see your culture on the big screen, which isn’t common practice, it’s a bit proud.
I didn’t have that before. I had to wait for movies like Black Panther or The Woman King. There are not many positive Black Role Models and there is a difference between African and African American culture. If only because not all of us had anything to do with slavery.
Wakanda Forever is a massive-budget film, almost entirely directed by women and featuring people of color, especially black people. Can the German film industry learn a lesson from this?
Yes, please. Absolutely. Something is slowly happening in terms of casting, but I would wish that there wasn’t such a compulsion, but rather a matter of course. People like me don’t even exist in the German film industry. How many Afro-Germans are there now who grew up here and who are nevertheless given the feeling of only being guests here? I’m not a guest here! So why do I have to go abroad to do a film like Wakanda Forever instead of just being able to play a “normal” role here?
It’s nice that I now have the chance to play a crime scene detective. But that’s not mainstream. When you watch a film, it’s also about recognizing yourself somewhere. It’s not about the fact that the character always has to have the same skin color. It’s about the culture and African culture is extremely diverse.
Even more Marvel in the podcast: All MCU series ranked
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Within less than 2 years, 9 Marvel series have started on Disney+. WandaVision started in 2021 and founded the new generation of MCU series. They are more closely tied to the films and often feature well-known MCU characters and stars. We take a critical look back at this phase and rank the series from unnecessary to indispensable.
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What do you think of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?