Michaela Coel said she wanted to “support and comfort” her Black Panther comrades following the death of Chadwick Boseman.
The 35-year-old British-Ghanaian actress stars as Aneka in the upcoming sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Speaking to the PA News Agency at the film’s European premiere, Coel reflected on directing the sequel without Boseman, who died of colon cancer after his performance as King T’Challa in the first. film.
She said: “I think there was so much going on with Chadwick…I just wanted to support them, comfort them and be a friend during a very complex time.”
Coel also shared his personal motivation behind portraying a queer character in the film, saying, “For me, it was about why I took on the role and what it meant to me to portray a character. queer, being from Ghana, where there are a lot of confusing LGBT laws going on.
“So for me, my focus on that element was very singular…
“It was about what I represent in Ghana and putting my feet in the shoes of a queer character.”
The actress and creator of I Will Destroy You explained that she hopes her role will have a positive impact on people in Ghana, adding, “I have a lot of friends there, and even just knowing for this to happen is a very exciting thing.”
In the film Aneka, the captain and combat instructor of the Dora Milaje, falls in love with second-in-command Ayo, their forbidden relationship leading to tension and disruption within the group of warriors.
Martin Freeman, who plays Everett K. Ross in the film, also commented on the effect Boseman’s legacy had on the creation of Wakanda Forever, telling PA, “Not just in this job but in life, if you don’t channel your grief into something else so we all just sit and die.
” You can not do this.
“The only alternative is to continue.
“And the shock and grief over Chadwick’s passing needs to be turned into something positive, otherwise what do we do?
“So hopefully he’ll be happy with what we did.”
Winston Duke remembered his late co-star while on the red carpet in London’s Leicester Square, where he described the process of filming without Boseman as “melancholy”.
“There was a deep need to see it and rediscover it, but knowing you’re not going to have that,” said Duke, 35, who plays M’Baku in PA.
“It’s something that I think we all still struggle with and just to be able to have this tribute is very special for all of us.”
He added: “The whole thing was trying to channel the grief into doing something positive.”
When asked how she felt about the feeling of unity and brotherhood, both on and off screen, Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye, said, “It was about love and of empowerment, in the sense of being sisters together, supporting each other and truly rejoicing in each other’s triumphs.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is due out November 11.