Interview with Lupita Nyong’o & Giancarlo Esposito
*** I was provided with an all expense paid trip for this event. Although all opinions are 100% mine****
Being one of the lucky 25 bloggers that took part in the #JungleBookEvent we were able to interview several of the cast of The Jungle Book and attend the World Premiere of The Jungle Book. Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito played strong roles in The Jungle Book. I must admit interviewing two amazing actors was a bit intimidating. Lupita plays the strong protective mother and Giancarlo plays the fierce leader of the wolf pack. Sitting down to chat with them was absolutely amazing.
Immediately Lupitia and Giancarlo made us feel welcome. They had such powerful message about family and belonging in the answers to the questions. I was very impressed with both of them.
What life experiences did you have to draw yourself to this character as a mothering role?
Lupitia: Wow. Well, I have a lot of very, very powerful women in my life. My mother being the first. And most important. But in my culture, in my mother’s sisters are also my mother. And my father’s sisters are my mother’s, too. So I’ve have many mothers. My mom had a fierce love. She has a fierce love for her children. And she’s known to say things like if you die I’ll kill you. And so… For me, that spirit, that tenacity of mothering was something that I thought that inspired, my version of Rocksha. Because it takes a woman with one huge heart to take on not only a child that’s not hers, but of a completely different species. And the fact that she does this, and she does it, and she doesn’t look back, and she does everything in her power to protect that child. And then to have to… uh, let go of that child as well, that takes even more love, you know, to allow your children to, to do what they need to do. And all mothers go through that. I know… I went through that with my mother. And as a child, you don’t appreciate it until you’re much older, and you realize how hard it is to make new connections, and, and then how hard it is to lose those connections. So those were things I was definitely thinking about. And I love my mommy.
Do you identify with Akila in any way?
Oh, in so many ways. You know, I’m a I’m a male, and on the way in, Lupita was talking about another film she did, and there was a lot of testosterone, energy! Um, I have four daughters, and, and, you know, I have to say that, while these questions, , in regard to Raksha and how Lupita feels about her mom and being a mother, I feel like the importance of the female and the mother presence in our society is greater than ever.
So while Lupita and you guys have been talking back and forth about motherhood, I have this vision that I’m really watching each one of my daughters start to become women, and mothers. And this is what’s gonna save our planet. I know it. Because there’s such a grace and understanding in the female persona when, women have really come into their own. Part of that is to have children, and to be caring for those children, and not only in the care for them, but also in the nurturing and raising of them, they have to pass on their, their souls, and their intelligence.
I have four daughters who, the eldest is 19, the youngest is 12, and I watched all of them journey into motherhood. Motherhood is very deep. It starts when you’re very, very young. Now, my 12 year old comes in, wants to put me to bed. And she’ll, you know, put her hand on my forehead and say the prayer with me. As for years I’ve done for her! It’s almost like a very beautiful, natural transition.
And all those things can’t be taught. It’s something that, that in the essence of a woman, the essence of a mother, a mother knows! So to me, you know, I have learned to listen through, raising four daughters. But I’ve learned to become a progressive man because I have four women in my life. And their mother, who I don’t… I’m not married to anymore, but who impresses me because of our relationship. Because we have a very deep and friendly relationship that is completely about who we really are now.
Before it was husband, wife, mother, father. But now it’s about who we are as human beings. Because we didn’t give up on each other. And because we didn’t hurt each other and blister each other from a divorce. We became tight. Best friends. And more than that even, because now we’re best parents. So our children look at us differently. And now we have, you know, when… when my former wife said to me, hey, whatever’s best for the children, she meant it!
It is this strength of the mother that is going to change the way the world is. It’s the compassion, the love, the, the, very open spirited mother, and woman that will move us forward in this new century. It’s no doubt.
What is one thing that you want children to take back from your character? What’s one example or role model quality that you want the kids to see from parental figures in the movie?
Lupitia: Well, I thin what Mogley is dealing with is finding belonging. And what Raksha offers him is home. Her as home. And as an anchor. And I think that’s an a really important thing for children to have. So that they can veer away from it, but always be able to come back when they need to.
Giancarlo : That’s really beautiful.
Giancarlo: What I want people to get from this movie is that sense of freedom, that sense of, abandonment in the ride, of this film, the sense of connection with family, even if you don’t have a family.
The sense of trust that someone’s gonna adopt you and take care of you. That sense of, really being engaged by the world. You know? Is what I would love people to take from this film. Because that’s our life! We think it’s all these other things until we get to a certain point some of us never get there, where we go, oh my gosh! Did I just miss it? You know? This is what life’s about! It’s not about all the other things we may think it’s about! You know, it’s about having these… And, and I think people are gonna feel it in this film. If, anything, all the folks who’ve come and talked to us in press today, their hearts have Lupita said this coming in here! Their hearts have been opened!
This movie is opening people’s hearts in this way, that… It’s doing its gig! And if it’s entertaining you as well, and you’re seeing all of this great story that’s an amalgam of all this technology and human, challenges that came with it to put a human being in this film, this is, like, It’s precious! This is the precious gem that we’re gonna take away. And, I just… I love it. I can’t wait to see it tonight. I’m really excited.
So what’s next for you?
Giancarlo: I feel, like, really blessed. I’ve just made, my second feature film as a director called This is Your Death. It stars Josh Gimell, Famka Jansen, and myself…
Lupita; Well, I am on Broadway at the moment. I’m doing a show called Eclipsed by Deni Guerera. You might know her from The Walking Dead.
It’s a milestone. I’m really proud of. I love going to work every day. It exhausts me. And I earn my rest! And I wake up and I do it again, and I just feel so blessed to be able to do, um, this story that means so much to me, means so much to my continent, and is meaning so much to, the very diverse audience that’s coming to see it. So if you’re in New York, come check us out. And, other than that, I have, things I cannot talk about yet.
The Jungle Book Opens in Theaters Everywhere April 15th.
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