Angela Bassett always knew she could be a queen.
The actress, who portrays Wakandan royalty and matriarch Ramonda in Marvel’s Black Panther, told EW at the film’s world premiere Monday night that she has long dreamed of playing a royal character.
“I never thought I was going to see that in my day, to get to portray a queen,” she said. “I always joked around and said that I would like to portray a queen one day, but I didn’t really think that would happen. I thought, ‘Hey it’s got to be possible in some mythological, mystical, make-believe world.’ And finally, it’s here — I guess you think these things and sometimes they come true.”
Bassett also told EW she’s proud to portray a queen and be a part of bringing a black superhero to the screen, which she says feels far more positive from what was available when she was a child. “When I was growing up, I had Superfly, I had Shaft, those were the guys who were taking down the bad guys,” she says. “Stan Lee did his thing and [Jack] Kirby did his thing with this character and finally he’s alive on screen.”
The actress recounted how different it felt to be working on a set with so many fellow black actors and a black director. “Every project feels wonderful and different than the last, but this was, you just take it to the tenth power, take it to the hundredth power because there were so many wonderful people of color to be able to work with and who got an opportunity all in one place at one time,” she said. “It was magnificent.”
Black Panther opens Feb. 16.