Letitia Wright has paid tribute to her late Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman, describing him as “the big brother I never had”.
Boseman, who died in August aged 43 after being diagnosed with colon cancer, received a posthumous Oscar nomination on Monday for his role in Netflix drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
He became an international superstar playing the lead role in Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster Black Panther, which also featured Wright.
Speaking to British Vogue, Wright, 27, recalled their first meeting.
She said: “From the moment we met, I loved Chadwick Boseman. I landed in Los Angeles in September 2016, called to audition for a Marvel Studios film that was to be directed by Ryan Coogler. It was clear this was a big deal.
“I was only 22 and incredibly nervous, but Chad – already cast as the lead – walked in with a smoothie, laid-back and cool. I heard God speak to my heart; that he would be my brother, and that I was to love him as such.
“As we read our lines, playing siblings for the first time, my hand reflexively went to his chest, over his heart surprising me. Why was I touching the chest of a man I’d just met? But then he wrapped his huge, beautiful hands around mine and held them there.”
Wright, who played Shuri, Black Panther’s technologically gifted younger sister, added: “It became more than an audition scene. I felt I had found the big brother I never had. The next time we met, on set in Atlanta, his energy was lower.
“He said he was just tired, flying coast to coast to test with different actors, and I worried our connection wasn’t clicking anymore. But, unbeknown to me, he had already told his team and Marvel that he felt like he had found his sister in me.”
Guyanese-British actress Wright, also known for roles in Doctor Who and Black Mirror, credited Boseman with changing her life.
She said: “I wish I had got to say goodbye. I wish that I could tell him how much he inspired me. How cherished he is by the world. How grateful I am to him for seeing me, a young black woman from Guyana – a small fish in a big pond.
“How his ‘yes’ for me to be a part of his world changed my life forever. For his selfless act of sharing his spirit and gift with us.”
See the full feature in the April issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands now.