'I'm maybe grateful for that choice': Lupita Nyong'o talks about late Chadwick Boseman withholding cancer diagnosis

When it comes to dealing with a loss of any kind, closure is something we wish for but oftentimes, don’t get.

For Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o, the loss of her friend (and co-star) Chadwick Boseman, who played the lead role of King T’Challa, was as much a surprise to her as it was for the rest of us.

She recently told The Hollywood Reporter that she was aware he was sick, but not that he was terminally ill.

Speaking to AsiaOne on E-Junkies, the 39-year-old actress, who plays Nakia (love interest of T’Challa), said she had to respect his choice.

“I’m even maybe grateful for that choice because it meant that when I was with him, I was with him unencumbered by that knowledge,” she explained.  

“I don’t know what it must have been like for him to hold that knowledge but I wasn’t burdened by it and so I could just be present with him.” 

Chadwick died from colon cancer at the age of 43 back in 2020.

During the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever press conference held recently, Lupita admitted to feeling envious that co-star Letitia Wright (Shuri) “gets to be chaotic”.

She added: “That’s how I felt; I felt raw and, you know, wanted to express it. And Nakia, she’s just a little further along in terms of her processing.”

That said, Lupita pointed out that in the process of exploring grief, it’s really grounding to have a character who has adapted better to the change — not just for the people in the story, but also for the audience.

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“And the fact that she was T’Challa’s love, in a way I guess it allows an audience to know that it’s okay, you know.”


As frustrated as she was with director Ryan Coogler for the direction of her character, Lupita said it was ultimately a therapeutic journey for her.

“I had to look beyond my frustrations with losing Chadwick and learn from her. Yeah, learn from that wisdom that she seems to possess.” 

For our full interview with Lupita Nyong’o, catch the latest episode of E-Junkies.


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