Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler Reveals How He Discovered Dominique Thorne

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler described how the creative team discovered Dominique Thorne. Essence Hollywood House reunited the Marvel filmmaker with Daniel Kaluuya to present the young actress with her Black Women in Hollywood award. It was a look back on a time before Black Panther and Coogler remembered her audition tape all those years ago. The test footage has recently made the rounds as she acted alongside Chadwick Boseman. Eventually, they would choose Letitia Wright as the actress for Shuri. But, it's very clear that Coogler and the creative team never forgot about her.

"The first time I met Dominique was in 2016, and we were casting our film Black Panther. She was young; I think she was still in school at Cornell, and she blew us away. She got very far in the process," Coogler began. "But it ended up not working out, and we went in a different direction. I was crushed that I wouldn't get to work with her on that project. She was so good and so young, I thought that maybe our paths would cross again."

Actually, Proximity Media's work on Judas and the Black Messiah ended up bringing her back into the fold. "Our incredible director Shaka King said 'hey, I got this tape for this woman for the part of Judy Harmon – I really want to cast her," Coogler continued. "She was supposed to be this kind of bruiser. She was the muscle for that chair of the Panthers. I open up the link and boom – there's Dominique."

What's Next For Dominique Thorne?

Thorne recently spoke to about what fans can expect from Ironheart. While Marvel is keeping a lot of secrets under lock and key, she could hint at the themes of the show. Namely community, and innovation. But, more interestingly, Thorne hinted that there were sides of Riri Williams that fans were not introduced to in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

"Honestly, I'm going to say it's the whole core ensemble," Thorne revealed. "It's really, look at me trying to answer without giving away the story line, but I definitely think the core cast is such, for the same reason that we've actually just touched on. I think, of course, I'm excited for folks to see more of Ironheart and to see these other layers that they didn't get to, they didn't get to see or capture in Wakanda Forever."

She continued, "But, in that same vein, there's so much more color and experience and love being expressed in this show. Like, trust across the spectrum in a way that's real and authentic. And I thin that could be again, a very good thing and it could be incredibly refreshing for so many people. So, I'm really excited for them to see. For them to see the folks that are leading this show."

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