-Welcome to the show.
-I-I’m really very nice. -Very sweet lady.
-Yeah, you, uh, you… -It’s interesting
that you have to… -A flower. Do you have to start a lot of
conversations with other people, “I’m really
a very nice person…” -Yeah, try dating.
-(both laugh) Yeah, because in… ‘Cause,
I mean, like, in Walking Dead, you are…
you’re a master of many weapons, and then, obviously, in Wakanda,
you’re, like, the most badass… You are… This is the thing
I always say to people. I was like, “Do you know
how badass you have to be to be the bodyguard
of the Black Panther?” Do you understand
how next-level… It’s like, yeah. When you… Like, she’s gonna protect you
from the Black Panther. Do you have to tell people
all the time? Be like, “I’m very nice.
I won’t hurt you.” -Are people afraid of you?
-Uh, well, you know, I mean, they don’t show it
too overtly. -Right. -But, you know, there…
I do have to disarm. You know, and I probably should
get better at it. But, you know, it’s like,
you know, be jovial -and sweet and giggly, goofy.
-Right, right, right. Which I am, you know.
But, uh, yeah. Sometimes you have to work
at that a little bit, ’cause… I feel like waiters would
come up to you and be like, “I’m sorry, ma’am,
I messed up your order. I’m so sorry.
I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” The, uh… Let’s start
with congratulating you. Black Panther. Congratulations. -Thank you.
-Seven Oscar nominations. -(cheering and applause)
-First superhero movie -to get a Best Picture
nomination. -Thank you. -Thank you. -And the cast
already won an award, a Screen Actors Guild Award
for Best Ensemble Cast. What do you think makes the cast
so special on Black Panther? You know,
it’s-it’s really kind of simple in the sense that Ryan, really, was so amazing
in how he gathered -a very particular group
of people that he… -Right. And he always used to say this.
He’s like, “I wanted a cast that didn’t just want to come
to work and learn their lines.” And I think there was something
really great about the spirit that we just had as a family
on that set, which was we came in every day. We had ideas. We had thoughts. We were, you know, in it 150%. We understood that,
you know, this was… -this was a special opportunity.
-Right. And a moment that
we really wanted to pore into. I mean, getting to speak Xhosa,
by the way, um, to the world– -these are things, like, you
know, we dreamed of. -Yes. Yes. You know, to be able to-to share this sort of, you know,
cultural exchange but, like,
allowing epic characters from this perspective
to come to the fore. So, I really think that was
just the spirit everyone had. People came in
with so much dedication, -so much preparation.
-Right, right, right. You know, I think of
Winston Duke and how, you know, he came in with that whole
moment that everyone became, you know, um, imitates.
You know, the-the power of how he brought in that– his
character had to be different from ours, in the sense
that he was Yoruba, you know? In a sense, he was,
uh, mimic-mimicking or, you know,
using the cultural, uh, nuances of the Yoruba.
And so he– you know, the way that he went into
that sort of research and work. I mean, everyone just came
with so much dedication, and I think that, um, is what I-I guess resonated
for those who voted for us. Right. It’s-it’s no– you know, it’s no surprise
that you do well onscreen. You’re-you’re an amazing actor. But, at the same time, your-your
casts are really great. The Walking Dead is coming back
for its ninth season now, and the story
has evolved so much. I mean, when it started,
was a pretty standard, all right, there’s zombies,
people out there, you got to kill the zombies,
keep it moving. But now we’re in a world
where it seems like the biggest monsters
aren’t necessarily the zombies. Uh, yes.
Well, we do have a new, uh– a very new and very scary enemy. -You saw a little glimpse
of it there. -Right. And it is– you know, there’s
a whole new psychological, like, mind-you-know-what. Because it’s like we–
this is a whole new thing. We do– We have no idea
how to deal with this, like, the idea
that they are that disguised. And you-you know
how walkers behave. We spent nine seasons
establishing how walkers behave. -Yes. -And now there’s
this whole flip on it. And so how are we gonna grapple
with that? Because, you know,
we’ve-we’ve already lost someone to how they work. And, you know,
what are we gonna do next? It’s-it’s such an intense show.
You’re– Like, you know,
some people die off, and then some people just
disappear into the wilderness and-and they’ve gone off. Um, but-but one thing
I’ve-I’ve always loved is that you-you always have
these intense characters. A lot of people
may not know this about you, but you’re also
a very accomplished playwright. You know?
This is one of your passions. You-You’re a Tony, uh,
nominated, um, playwright. Whenever you’re reading
a script, do you have to hold yourself
back? Or do you just change
whatever you want? ‘Cause, l-like,
you write scripts. Are you ever, like,
reading and be like, “Trash, trash, trash” and just come and be like,
“These are my new lines”? (laughter) Ah, that would be lovely. No. Um, no.
I-I don’t do it quite like that. But, um, you know,
it’s-it’s the beauty of the places
I’ve been able to work. -Yes. -And I think
that’s kind of ’cause that’s the only sort of work
I seem to attract, which I’m thankful for,
is that the folks at the helm of those projects, like Walking
Dead, like Black Panther, -are collaborators. And so
they really have -Oh, nice. allowed me
and they allow others– Like, you know,
I really think a great artist– be they an actor or a writer– their– the storytelling ability
is there, -to really feel out
what’s-what’s resonating, -Yes. what’s not.
They know their characters. They can see what could work
a little, you know, sharper, and they can bring forth
arguments. So I’ve been able to-to do that. And it’s great.
I have such amazing, uh, showrunner and a cast and,
you know, Ryan as the director, like, just being able to say,
conversation, “Let’s think about this”
or “Can I try this or that?” And they-they allow
some-some things, at times. And I accept when they don’t, because that’s how leaders
must be. They must allow things
and then not allow things, ’cause they have the final say,
and that’s always respected. You are somebody who is lauded
onscreen and offscreen as well. People look up to as-as
a powerful woman on-on screen, a powerful actor,
uh, behind the-the camera, but at the same time, what you do in real life
is-is-is really amazing. -You have an organization called
“Love Our Girls.” -Mm-hmm. And that organization has
a very specific focus. -What is that? -Well, really
it’s, um… I was born on Valentine’s Day,
so, uh, it was… -That must suck.
-And you know what? -It doesn’t.
-What-what…? When do you…? Because there’s always
someone… Someone’s always gonna
buy me dinner. Someone’s always
gonna buy me dinner, Trevor. Yeah, but what…
But what’s the dinner for? -How do you know what
the dinner’s for? -My birthday! -No, it doesn’t matter. -Oh,
so you just wanted the dinner? -I’m celebrating
on the fourteenth. -Either way? -Either way.
-Okay. Okay, I can see that. I would be like, “Yeah.” I feel
like it’s like, which one is it? No, no, no.
I mean, ’cause, like, -you know, either it’s a group
of friends. -Uh-huh. But, you know, we’re always
gonna have a good time -on Valentine’s Day. -Okay. No,
that’s a nice way to look at it. -Okay. -You know, I’m never
sitting at home going, “Aah! I wish…”
No, I’m always out having a good time
on Valentine’s Day. -Right, right, right. -But, um,
you know, I’ve never… Honestly, I’ve never
quite understood the holiday. So it was really about me
saying, you know, what… During Eclipsed, which was
on Broadway, as you mentioned, the-the, um…
the focus is about girls and how they get displaced, -and-and, uh,
abducted during war. -Right. The sort of sexual violence
that happens during conflict. So the bodies of girls and women
tend to be the stomping ground of-of wars ignited by warlords, -and, um, you know,
big men disagreeing. -Yes. And, so, uh, it was really about highlighting
the-the personhoods, the lives and-and the struggles of women
and girls going through that. And I really wanted
to sort of find a way to highlight that in a way
that, um, was more permanent
than, you know, saying, -“Oh, we’re on Broadway now.”
-Yes. So the idea of-of Love Our Girls
was really, like, I want to take back
Valentine’s Day just my own way, and say, if we loved on women
and girls more, would we really be in a state
of this level of disparity -between the genders?
-Right. Would we still be here if there was just more
genuine love given to how we can help women
and girls nur… be nurtured -and reach their highest
potential? -Right. So, Love Our Girls is-is not…
You know, I… There are so many amazing
organizations out there doing astounding work
around gender inequality -across the globe.
-Mm-hmm. So, it wasn’t about me saying, “I’m gonna come in
and do this and that.” But it was really about how-how
can we nurture awareness? -Yes.
-You know, ’cause there… You can’t become an activist
without it. And the idea of saying, like,
if you just take a pledge, and the pledge only means
that you agree to receive the newsletter
every month in your inbox… -Mm-hmm.
-…at logpledge.org, you take a pledge,
and we keep you informed, and we focus
on various organizations -and amazing women across
the world… -That’s amazing. …that are trying
to impact this issue. Thank you so much. That’s really
amazing. Congratulations… -Thank you.
-…for what you’re doing, for the awards you’re winning
and all the awards that you’re gonna win
in the future. Wonderful having you
on the show. Thank you. Good to see you. The Walking Dead airs Sundays
at 9:00 p.m. on AMC. Danai Gurira, everybody.