#QueenOfKatwe Cast + Lupita Nyong’o Interview


We spoke about the red carpet premiere of Queen of Katwe… and how that REALLY goes down.

We went over the movie review and how inspiring and amazing the film was.

Today, Im sharing my “pinch me” moment, where I along with my fellow Disney bloggers got to interview the amazing Lupita Nyong’o and her castmates Madina Nalwanga (who played Lupita’s daughter, Phiona) and Martin Kabanza (Brian, Phiona’s sister).

So picture this:

Bloggers are seated around a conference table in a large white room. The air is full of anticipatory energy…everyone’s on the edge of their seats waiting for the flawless Oscar award winning Lupita to make her entrance. We hear the door open. Everyone’s head swivels. In walks Lupita, flanked by and holding the hands of her two co-stars Madina and Martin. The room errupts in applause and cheers. Lupita glows. Madina Glows. Martin looks abashed.

Lupita holds their hands and walks around to the 3 open seats, and she pull the chairs out for her on-screen children and in such a motherly way directs them on where to sit. PS She looks like a gorgeous tiny sprite and aint no way she’s any body’s mama with a body like that! (but don’t worry, it’s believable in the film)

Once they’re seated and comfortable…us bloggers start letting the questions fly.

We asked about how it was with the 3 of them working together (since it was Madina and Martin’s first time acting) and boy did we get a surprise.  We didn’t realize the simple questions we were asking about the film would elicit such powerful responses, and tears.

Lupita answered first sharing how they met, and prepared for the roles. She mentioned that Madina walked in and just said “Hi Mama.” And we found out that both Madina and Martin both call Lupita Mama to this day. Madina shared her story of being away from her own mother since the age of four and how Lupita is the only other person she’s ever called mama. Martin shared his tear jerker tale of being an infant when he lost his parents. He was raised by extended family and he had never called anyone Mama until Lupita in this role. And he still calls her Mama (and probably always will.)


No dry eyes in the room after Martin shared that with us. Lupita included. (PS Lupita still looks gorgeous when she cries)

They shared about how real a certain scene was (I won’t share which because #nospoilers – go see the movie when it opens on Friday!) because both of the children lived that life. The scene had both children very pensive and quiet before shooting it (which was not the norm on set with these kids.) Madina was very similar to her character, Phiona, in that she too sold corn in the streets of Katwe. And Martin, he lived there his whole life as well. They both dealt with the realities of poverty in the area….and now are playing it out onscreen. #trippy!

When asked about acting for the first time both children said they owed a lot to Lupita.


Lupita showed the children how to get into character, and both children said they would watch her closely and try to mimic what she was doing. Madina said she dubbed herself “copycat” because she would watch Lupita’s movements and expressions so closely and try to emulate her.

The cast shared their favorite scenes and it was hard because there were so many great scenes in the film. Martin chose the Budo scene where the children go to a “fancy” school for a chess tournament for the first time. He digs into some chicken in that scene and he said it was one of his favorites because he had never tried chicken like that before.


Madina’s favorite scene is one where David Oyelowo’s character is telling a story to the children and acting it out very animatedly. She said she loved how David was jumping up and down, running around, collapsing and popping up. It was funny, but the reason it was her favorite scene is because he was spending time devoted to the children and it made her feel special. She said she hadn’t had someone devote time and attention to her in that way before.

These kids yo… They were pulling at my heart strings for the whole interview!!

After we finished throwing questions at them, we all gathered for a group photo so the kids could go explore hollywood and Lupita could run over to Ellen.


It was an awesome interview. I can’t even get into every single thing that we covered because this post would go on forever. I loved how motherly Lupita was with her two “adopted” children. I loved how open, honest, geniuine and sweet the children were. It was lovely to see and I’m honored I got a chance to meet and interview these 3 amazing actors.

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