Sope Aluko Reveals 'Black Panther' Role

Nigerian-born actress Sope Aluko is among the expansive cast of the newest blockbuster installment out of Marvel Studios' cinematic universe, Black Panther, where she plays a "critical" role.

"I play a critical role by the name of Shaman. I can't say too much about my character," Aluko told OkayAfrica. "I know it doesn't help, but it's all part of my contract."

The actress said she landed her Black Panther role after several auditions for multiple part, eventually winning what she calls a minor role.

"A local casting team requested me for a major role but I didn't get it. I auditioned four times and I had to be humble and try for a much smaller role because I wanted to be a part of the project," Aluko explained.

"They kept interviewing me for different roles, so I was very happy to see that I was highly sought after. The casting directors made me feel very warm after a 5 minute ice breaker about my name. They honored the Nigerian way of saying it, which made me even more comfortable auditioning."

Aluko opened up about the difficulty of working in Hollywood as an African actor, saying it "seems as though the stories were not being told in a way that [they] should be."

"Hollywood had the version of Africa they wanted to present and package to the world and it looks like they've since changed then," the actress explained.

"Directors are now more open to casting real africans with real accents from different parts of the continent, so that's very reassuring. Notable names like Yvonne Orji, Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyewole have made it easier for those coming behind to break in. It's cool to be Nigerian these days, so it's a great time for actors in Hollywood because it feels like it's all finally happening."

Aluko's co-star Lupita Nyong'o serves as romantic lead in Black Panther, featuring alongside Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Forest Whitaker.

"It felt very familiar and like home," she said of working with the heavy-hitter actors.

"We had early call times but I didn't even feel the long set hours because it was such a good time. I didn't feel like I was amongst stars, everyone was so down to earth and normal. During breaks we shared our testimony of how we got to where did and most of the people were testifying to God's miracles, it was almost like church."

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Aluko previously appeared in TV's Parks and Recreation and Bloodline, with roles in Identity Thief, Pitch Perfect 2 and 13 Hours. She'll next appear as Dr. Rosie Collins in Sony's Venom, out later this year.

Black Panther opens February 16.