Lupita Nyong’o went to pretty extreme lengths to train for her role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever“. Speaking on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on 1 Nov., Nyong’o revealed she prepared to play Nakia in the upcoming Marvel movie by walking underwater . . . with weights.
Sections of the film take place underwater, but when asked by director Ryan Coogler about her swimming abilities, she gave herself a 4 and admitted she “would swim like a panicked puppy”. While she often posts her workouts on Instagram, she added general swimming to her training routine, and also took part in Extreme Performance Training. “It’s learning how to improve your breath capacity by performing tasks underwater, so I would carry these weights and walk on the floor of a pool,” she says. Now that’s dedication!
Nyong’o, who wore an epic “hair chandelier” to the movie premiere, then went on to explain the reasoning behind this intense activity. “It’s all about overriding your panic button, because you have about 2 minutes of air inside you, of oxygen inside you, so when you panic you still have 2 minutes to live,” she says. “It’s about trying to prolong that panic so that you can do more underwater.” As such, the training has given her a sense of calm in day-to-day life and has helped her to zone in when faced with stressful situations.
As well as the unusual preparations for the superhero film, she also speaks of working with the late Chadwick Boseman. “He was very quiet. He was very funny. He could be mischievous, as well,” she says. Describing a flight with the cast during the first movie, she remembers him reading a book on African history when everyone else was exhausted. “He was so curious, he always wanted to sharpen his mind and in so doing he just sharpened his understanding of the human condition,” she adds.
Watch Nyong’o’s incredible underwater training above and catch “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in UK cinemas from 11 Nov.