Watch out Chadwick Boseman — Black Panther has a designated scene stealer!
24-year-old Letitia Wright steals the show with her portrayal of Shuri — the younger sister of Boseman’s T’Challa and Wakanda’s chief technology expert. Shuri’s inventions lead to the coolest scenes in the movie and her wisecracks keep the laughs going.
But the Guyana-born and London transplant is just beginning her career. Here’s what you should know about the rising star.
She was motivated to start acting thanks to Keke Palmer
We have Akeelah and the Bee to thank for Wright’s burgeoning career. The actress has previously said that seeing Keke Palmer in the film as a 12-year-old in 2006 inspired her to join the acting world and show different types of faces on the big screen. But although she was convinced, she had to work hard to sell it to her parents, who expected a different career path.
“In my country where I was born, Guyana, we push more for education,” she told Vanity Fair. “It’s more being a lawyer, doctor, teacher, or scientist. So it was something I had to just really prove—not only to myself, but to my parents, that I could do it, and I can make a living from it, and that I was kind of good at it.”
She already played a badass on Black Mirror
Some fans might recognize her for her chilling role in the latest season finale of Netflix’s Black Mirror. Without spoiling anything, Wright plays Nish, a woman who encounters a out-of-way museum that houses some peculiar items — and an even stranger curator.
She plays the smartest character in the Marvel world
Wright’s Shuri is canonically the smartest person in the Marvel universe — meaning that she’s even smarter than Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Wright admits that it was fun getting to play such a brainy character.
“It was fun. She tries to not rub it in your face, but then she kind of rubs it in your face,” she told reporters at the film’s New York premiere. “It was cool to play an African princess who’s the smartest in the whole world. That never happens. So I hope all the young girls can feel smart too.”
She kept everyone on their toes while they were filming
When asked if she teases Boseman in real life the same way Shuri teases T’Challa, Wright had a quick answer.
“Yes I did, of course! I made fun of Chadwick, Lupita, Danai [Gurira]. I was the troublemaker on set,” she admitted. “But we all had a great time and had fun. And my relationship with Chadwick is literally like that on and offscreen. We genuinely care about one another.”
Her first purchase after making it big was a vacation
And the actress knows how to live large. She admitted on the carpet at the New York premiere that her first major purchase after the film was a luxury vacation.
“I went on holiday, I took myself to St. Lucia. That was my first major purchase. I went after filming, I wanted to chill out,” she said.
Now she’s ready to rest after a busy debut
Along with Black Panther and Black Mirror, Wright has also starred in the Liam Neeson action film The Commuter and will feature in Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated Ready Player One. That makes four high-profile roles in the past few months.
And after the packed list of project she’s appeared in recently, Wright is ready for some downtime. “I’m gonna go home and take a nap because I’m so tired!” she said of her plans to celebrate after the whirlwind of the last few months.
She even tweeted out her plans as the film began screening in countries around the world:
Black Panther hits theaters Feb. 16.