The moment Florence Kasumba introduced herself as Ayo, T’Challa’s security chief in Captain America: Civil War, audiences immediately knew the type of energy that the Dora Milaje would be giving to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Ugandan-born German actress made her MCU debut by staring down Black Widow (portrayed by Scarlett Johansson) as she sharply suggested the Russian spy turned Avenger “move or be moved.”
What has come after has literally been cinematic history. When Ryan Coogler’s long-awaited Black Panther came rippling through the box office in Feb. 2018, eviscerating any expectations and quickly soaring to the $1 billion mark globally, we learned that women like Ayo, Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and the rest of the women of Wakanda were the pulse of the country. Now, as the film arrives on DVD, Kasumba, who gave us our first glimpse of the fearsome Wakandan women, is reflecting on the whirlwind that has been her life and career over the past few years. “You know what, this has been such a long journey, and I was so excited to be able to discuss it again,” she revealed. “Black Panther is such an amazing movie.”
Kasumba’s role as Ayo turned out to be much more than she could have ever dreamed of, especially after it was expanded into Black Panther. “When I was cast for the security chief, she was a character that wasn’t supposed to speak,” she explained. “So when I finally understood, okay this is a big Marvel movie, I wasn’t that intimidated, because I thought, ‘Okay you’re going to do this job, and it’s going to be easy to translate.’ Then I showed up, and I was supposed to say a line. Years later, I’m very happy that people liked my interpretation of it.”
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