Actress Lupita Nyong’o gave fans an inside look into the tense training she endured while filming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” In the recently released movie, the 39-year-old plays Nakia, an undercover Wakandan spy. A number of scenes was filmed underwater in the Atlantis-like Kingdom of Talokan, which required a rigorous amount of preparation for the star.
On Sunday, Nov. 20, Nyong’o shared behind-the-scenes footage of herself performing a series of drills in a swimming pool while holding drum bells. “How I trained to swim in ‘Wakanda Forever” was written at the beginning of the TikTok video. There are also clips of her walking and crawling underwater while her trainer and coach walk alongside her.
“Swimming down to Talokan was not as easy as it looked!” she captioned the viral video. “Safely supervised by @XPT Life and #MarkRobertsFitness #wakandaforever #blackpanther #talokan #underwater #fittok #behindthescenes.”
Nyong’o’s intense swimming lesson was overseen by XPT extreme performance training coach Mark Roberts. At the end of the clip, she swam back to the surface, jokingly adding, “I felt like a crawfish.”
N’yongo admitted she already knew how to swim in an interview with Variety. But now she’s grateful to have gained another “lifelong skill.”
“Before we started the film, I knew how to swim, but I wasn’t a confident swimmer,” she said. “I didn’t swim in public, that’s for sure. That’s a lifelong skill I now have.”
But Nyong’o isn’t the only person who learned how to swim for the “Black Panther” sequel. According to the outlet, writer and director of both films Ryan Coogler also learned to swim. Aside from knowing how to stay alive in water, the 36-year-old shared that learning to swim and breath underwater has become one of his most rewarding experiences.
“If the camera’s in the water, actors are in the water, I’ve got to be in there too,” said Coogler.
The filmmaker continued, “I remember it was a wild feeling, like I can’t believe I’m this deep in water. Then I started to work on the breath hold and got comfortable.”
“Black Panther” star Angela Bassett, who plays Queen Ramonda, queen of Wakanda, also picked up a few swimming techniques in the process. Bassett and Nyong’o both learned how to hold their breath for about two minutes.
She said, “You know some black girls have this history with water and their hair. Some of us can’t swim all that well, because it’s going to mess up that press and curl. It’s a whole thing.”