Black Panther is nothing short of a phenomenon. The latest installment in the wildly successful “Marvel” movie series, it has become the second-highest grossing four-day opening in movie history, raking in $242 million. The film has been praised by critics and received a 97% rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
“A film that fulfills the most rote demands of superhero spectacle, yet does so with style and subtexts that feel bracingly, joyfully groundbreaking,” wrote Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post.
But even more remarkable than box-office records and glowing reviews is the story behind actress Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s little sister, Shuri. Wright, who appeared on British talk show, talked about how she almost missed out on the role after hitting a crisis in her life, dumping acting and going on a search for God.
“I needed to take a break from acting because I really idolized it. So I came off from it and I went on a journey to discover my relationship with God, and I became a Christian,” Wright said.
“It really just gave me so much love and light within myself. I felt secure, like I didn’t need validation from anyone else, or from getting a part. My happiness wasn’t dependent on that, it was dependent on my relationship with God.”
At the very depths of her depression, the British actress ended up coming to Christ after attending a London actors’ Bible study. So convinced that she had to put God first, she even turned down an acting role that would have set her alongside Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning.
“I remember God was like, to me, ‘Give up the job,’” the actress told Vanity Fair. “I can give you more than that; I just need you right now. Give up the job.”
Then, after laying down her own ambition and looking to the Lord, she was offered this gigantic role in Black Panther.
Letitia also explained how many of those in the entertainment are coming to know Jesus, and that the Christian community in Hollywood is an extremely supportive one.
“There’s a reason there are so many Christians in the limelight. A lot of young people who are in the creative industry are finding an avenue toward God now,” she said. “We’re all in the same path, we’re all in the same thing. But we all support each other, and love each other, and keep each other grounded, and keep each other positive.”
Now an international sensation and with a glittering career ahead of her, Wright just wants to be used as a “vessel” for the Lord. “Where I go, where He takes me, that’s where I need to spread the love of God,” she said in an earlier interview. “Because people’s souls are dying. My soul was dying, and He saved me. So I can’t keep this to myself … I fell in love with Jesus and I’m still in love. Amen.”