popular
Image by Chidofauxreal, courtesy of Femi Olagoke.

This Nigerian Actor Used His Incredible Stuntman Skills to Land a Role In 'Black Panther'

Femi Olagoke has worked on the set of major motion pictures, but he's currently celebrating one of his biggest roles to date.

Lagos-born Femi Olagoke was in college when he decided that he would pursue a career in acting, so he did what any person with Nigerian parents would do—he got a degree in business administration. His plan was to get a job in the corporate world to support his passion. After all "struggling artist" doesn't exactly qualify as a legitimate occupation in everyone's book.

He never did find that job though, his physical strength, acquired form years of sports training—he went to the University of Missouri where he ran track and field—made him uniquely qualified for work as a stuntman in major motion pictures and television series, including Avengers: Infinity War and Luke Cage, just to name a few.


He was working as a stuntman on the set of Black Panther when Ryan Coogler asked him to perform a few lines. He delivered, and is now billed in an acting role in the blackest, and most monumental film to hit theaters in years. We're guessing, that things can only up from here.

We caught up with the actor to discuss some of the technical parts of working as a stuntman and making his way on to the big screen in Black Panther. Read on for our conversation with Olagoke.

Image courtesy of Femi Olagoke.

Can you tell us more about the role that you play in Black Panther?

I play a Nigerian militant, in the opening scene of the movie.

Normally you work as a stuntman?

Yeah, I do work as a stuntman, I am primarily an actor, but because of my skillset and what I can do physically it helps as well. That's how I got this opportunity in Black Panther.

Wow so what's been the most challenging thing you've ever done as a stuntman?

I had to launch myself into this wall that had a big mirror on it. I had to hit the wall, then bounce off and hit the table, then hit the ground. So basically, I had to fall from a really high distance and hit the ground hard. It's not that it was challenging, but there was a lot of danger involved, because if I didn't do it right, you know, it wouldn't end well. But, fortunately, everything I've done so far has gone pretty well.

Glad to hear that. So it was your stunt work that led you to get your role in Black Panther?

Yeah, I was hired as a stuntman. But while I was on set, Ryan Coogler looked at the people he had and he chose some people to deliver certain dialogue.

It just happened like that?

Well, [getting the part was a mixture] of the experiences that I've had and the people who know you in the business and can vouch for you and your skillset. I had to send in a video of me doing fights and stunt work. So it's based on your experience, your skillset, your reputation and what you've done in the industry. So everything you've done helps. I think it's a combination of everything.

Image courtesy of Femi Olagoke.

What was it like being on set working with Ryan Coogler and the cast?

It was great, such a wonderful experience. It was very rewarding and satisfying.

It just felt good because we were doing something historic, and it's something that's close to home on so many levels, not just for me, but I know so many other people relate to it. So that feeling was there the whole time. Everyone was just happy to be there. Even though we knew the stakes, and what was at hand, we still had a great time. We all knew we wanted to deliver something great for you guys. Ryan is a very humble and focused director.

So you get to flex your Nigerian accent in the film?

Yeah, I mean it was like talking to one of my buddies, it was very comfortable and rewarding. Some time last year I got to audition for a part, I was going to play a Nigerian and they asked for the audition not only in a Nigerian accent but also in Yoruba. So that was my first time ever doing something like that in my career. It felt so good.

What's next for you?

There's something in discussion with my reps, but I can't talk about that yet. When it's time, everyone will know. It's still such a surreal experience to say I was in Black Panther.

popular

Trevor Noah, 'Black Panther' and More Are Honored at the Prestigious 50th NAACP Image Awards

"The power of this moment to us really feels like the power of Pan-Africanism," Danai Gurira says at the ceremony.

The NAACP Image Awards is one of the few premiere cultural moments that celebrates to accomplishments of people of color in television, music, literature, film and social justice. In its 50th year, the awards ceremony went down this past weekend at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, honoring notables who won awards based on public audience votes.

This year's nominees was only a peek into how the African diaspora has continued to build, connect and be recognized for their efforts in telling more stories that reflect our diversity as a global black community.

"The power of this moment to us really feels like the power of Pan-Africanism," Danai Gurira says, while joining the Black Panther cast stage as they swept the awards ceremony that evening. "The beauty of this project is that we as a diaspora made this film successful—and we're just getting started as a diaspora—we're just getting started."

Take a look at some winners of note below.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Just Celebrated a Goal By Putting On the Black Panther Mask

🙅🏾🙅🏾🙅🏾

Arsenal played their second leg game against Rennes in the Europa League today, in which the Gunners looked to turn things around and pass on to the next round.

The star of the match turned out to be Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who netted two goals in the Thursday night match at the Emirates.

The real highlight for most though was his celebration after scoring Arsenal's third goal of the night.

Around the 72nd second minute, Aubamayeng tapped a cross from the left into the goal and proceeded to (somehow) pull out a Black Panther mask for his celebration.

He immediately put the mask the mask on and even pulled out the Wakanda Forever salute to boot. He got booked, of course, but who cares.

Best celebration of the season? Likely so.

Check it out below.

Read: 10 Incredible Things About 'Black Panther' You Might Have Missed

Keep reading... Show less
Audio
Ayanda Jiya. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

South African Women Dropped the Best Debuts of 2019

We highlight 10 noteworthy albums & EPs from a new generation of vocal talent in South Africa, featuring Elaine, Ayanda Jiya, Ami Faku and more.

The South African music scene has seen an uptick in youthful, vocally gifted artists over the years. Much of this is owed to the recent global resurgence of R&B, as well as the increased significance of streaming sites, especially SoundCloud.

From internet-savvy artists creating jazz, alternative soul and house-infused spoken word to radio friendly iterations of pop and Afro-soul, 2019 has been the year of impactful debut performances.

This year ushered in the voices of a new generation of South African female artists announcing themselves to the world.

Here's a lowdown of 10 great releases from talented female vocalists, songwriters and composers marking this new era.

Read ahead below. This list is in no particular order.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
Album Cover Art.

Listen to Stormzy's New Album 'Heavy is the Head'

The British-Ghanaian grime star has dropped his much-anticipated sophomore album featuring YEBBA, H.E.R., Burna Boy, Ed Sheeran, Tiana Major9 and Headie One.

British-Ghanaian rapper Stormzy has finally dropped his much-anticipated sophomore album Heavy is the Head. The album comes two years after he released his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer.

The 16-track project features the likes of American singer-songwriter YEBBA, H.E.R., Burna Boy, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, Tiana Major9 and Headie One.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.