Nothing can quite prepare you to see yourself onscreen in one of the year's most anticipated films, but Black Panther star Danai Gurira figured out a way to cope on the night of the premiere. The actress visited Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday to talk about her on-set experience and the premiere, saying she kept her hand firmly planted on co-star Michael B. Jordan's leg during the film's best parts.
“Every single moment something exciting happened I’d just grab his calf!” She called the star-studded night "a celebration," especially since, like most of the people in the audience, she hadn't watched the final product. “I was sitting there shuddering the whole time because I hadn’t seen it yet and I’m watching it with 700 people for the first time.”
Reviews for the Ryan Coogler–directed film have been overwhelmingly positive, with critics even calling it one of Marvel's best ever. Not to mention, it's already breaking records before its nationwide release by surpassing Batman vs. Superman in superhero movie ticket pre-sales.
As with most MCU movies, details about Black Panther have been well-protected since it was first announced in 2014. Keeping secrets about a project in production is something Gurira is more than familiar with, as her role as Michonne in AMC's The Walking Dead has her pretty tight-lipped in interviews. “It was funny joining to Marvel universe because there’s a lot of top secret stuff and I was like, 'I got you!'" she told Kimmel. "I’m very artful at saying nothing."
She also told the host she brought close friends with her to the Panther premiere, including a childhood bestie with whom she shares an affinity for a particular West Coast legend, who was also in attendance. “There was a moment [my friend] got to meet Snoop Doggy Dogg. Both of us flipped out like, it’s Snoop Doggy Dogg! You never know who is going to get you starstruck."
Black Panther hits theaters nationwide on Friday, Feb. 16.