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Lupita Nyong’o: ’Queen of Katwe portrays Africa positively’

Actress Lupita Nyong’o is proud her new film Queen of Katwe portrays Africa positively.

The 12 Years A Slave star knew she wanted to sign on to play female Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutes’ mother Nakku Harriet immediately after reading the script because she was thrilled the film showed the people of Katwe, a poor area of Uganda’s capital Kampala, in a new light.

"(This film) means so much to me and (it is) a new image of Africa on screen with a studio that is as big as Disney," she told U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America on Monday (26Sep16). "We really get a positive, inspiring story here about a little girl with a big dream and she achieves it. I’m very, very proud of it."

The 33-year-old also previously spoke about how moved she was to work with the locals in Katwe.

"The slum of Katwe is a very difficult place to live, but you see these people living there with dignity," she told Entertainment Tonight in May (16). "To go there and to have that environment to work from really did give life and meaning to our work. It was research, obstacle and inspiration."

"(And) I have so much love and admiration for the children," Lupita continued. "They all shine in this film. It opened my heart and made me a better actress."

Lupita’s co-star, David Oyelowo, who plays chess coach Robert Katende, has echoed similar sentiments, insisting the movie signals a new direction for movies about African countries as previous films tended to focus on negatives.

"I’ve done a film in Uganda before called The Last King of Scotland which I really enjoyed doing," he told the BBC. "I think it’s a wonderful film, but that film along with a number of other films have highlighted the negative side of what goes down on the African continent and that’s because that’s a truism, but what I haven’t seen enough of is the positive side of what Africa is and represents."

Queen of Katwe debuts in the U.S. on Friday (30Sep16).


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