In Hollywood, as in life, timing is everything. Problem is, you can’t predict when the timing will be right; sometimes shit just falls into place, and you have a split second to decide whether you’re moving or letting opportunities pass you by. 

Winston Duke is a perfect example. The actor, who you may know as M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari, in Ryan Coogler’s Academy Award-winning Marvel opus Black Panther, met Jordan Peele at the 2018 Oscars. Duke didn’t think much of the run-in, but that random encounter wound up being more serendipitous than maybe even he thought. “After he won his Oscar, [I] congratulated him, told him I was a big fan,” Duke says. “And then I saw him again at JAY-Z's afterparty and we chatted briefly. Then he called me about a week and a half later. My people were saying, ‘Jordan Peele’s trying to get ahold of you. He has some secret project.’” 

The secret project was Peele’s Us, one of 2019’s most anticipated films, in which Duke stars as Gabriel “Gabe” Wilson, opposite Lupita Nyong’o as his wife, Adelaide. “I read [the script] in one sitting and immediately was like, ‘I’m doing this,’” Duke says. “There was not gonna be any reality where I didn’t do this project after reading it.”