Netflix's Black Mirror may be most well-known for its unsettling tales of technological caution, but it's also noteworthy for nabbing some pretty big names to act in its anthological offerings. There are many examples to give, but today, we'll be talking about Letitia Wright, who starred in the show's fourth season episode entitled "Black Museum," the story of a young woman who learns the history of crime-related artifacts at a creepy museum.
The episode aired a little less than two months before Wright's major role as Princess Shuri in Marvel Studios' Black Panther, but it was thanks to the MCU movie that she got the Black Mirror role in the first place. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Black Mirror creator/writer/producer Charlie Brooker talked about how Wright sent in her audition while the comic book movie was still filming. What was most surprising is that her submission contained a very familiar face — errr — voice, rather.
“She did an audition for us, and there was this voice reading lines off camera that she was responding to,” Brooker said. “It was an American accent, but Annabel and I were going, ‘We recognize that voice, where is that voice from?’ And it was Daniel Kaluuya! He was reading off-camera for her, and the character he was reading was American so he was doing his U.S. accent, and they were just doing it in her trailer for Black Panther. We got her just in time, because now she’s much more in demand.”
Kaluuya, of course, portrayed Bing Madsen in the first-ever season of Black Mirror (2011's "Fifteen Million Merits") before it was on Netflix. In Black Panther, he played W'Kabi, the best friend of King T'Challa and husband of Dora Milaje leader, Okoye (Danai Gurira).
“When it comes to Daniel, when we saw his audition it was a bit of a no-brainer,” Brooker continued. “It’s a very tricky part because for the first 15-20 minutes he hardly says anything, he’s sort of depressed. When he comes to that big speech at the end where he has this huge explosion and rails against everything in that world, he was so incredible in that scene, such a towering performance, that I remember thinking, ‘As soon as anyone sees this, surely this guy will get snapped up by everyone.'"
Thanks to his turn on the anthology series, Kaluyya was able to be rocketed into the spotlight by a little horror feature from writer/director Jordan Peele.
"I later discovered later that it was because Jordan Peele had seen him in "15 Million Merits" that he was cast in Get Out," said Brooker. "That was like, oh that’s good. Obviously he would have got there on his own because he’s such a talent, but it’s very gratifying that was literally the thing Jordan Peele saw that made him go, who is this guy? That’s brilliant, and it was born out, because how f**king good was he in Get Out? He’s just an exceptional talent.”