In the upcoming Disney drama Queen of Katwe, Lupita Nyong’o stars as the mother of a 10-year-old Ugandan girl named Phiona who sets her sights on becoming an international chess champion. It’s a moving tale that’s based on a true story, and as Nyong’o reveals in this new featurette, it only took a few script pages to bring her to tears.
“When I first read The Queen of Katwe, I was about 10 pages in when I broke down and cried because I had been so inspired,” Nyong’o says.
Newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars as Phiona, with David Oyelowo playing her chess tutor Robert Katende. Over the course of the featurette, Nyong’o, Oyelowo, and director Mira Nair talk about what it was like to shoot this story on location in Uganda, often accompanied by the actual Phiona and Robert.
In fact, Nalwanga herself was raised in Uganda, not too far from Katwe, and when Nyong’o reflects on what it was like to work on this story with her young costar, she breaks into tears again.
“I felt very privileged and honored to be able to usher these children through this,” Nyong’o says. “I just said to them that this is our opportunity to tell the world your story. And that was a moment where real life and the world of cinema, that line no longer exists.”
Queen of Katwe opens on Sept. 23.