When auditioning for Black Panther, Award-winning actress Connie Chiume, didn’t even know the name of the movie. Now it is one of the top five top-grossing film after hitting the $1 billion mark.
With a career in acting spanning 41 years, Connie Chiume is the only South African woman to have bagged a role in Marvel’s superhero mega blockbuster, Black Panther. She plays a tribal leader in the critically-aclaimed film, which amassed a billion dollars in cinemas worldwide within weeks of its opening.
Before I went into acting, I trained as a nurse, dropped out to train to be a teacher and then left that too. I think it was because during those days, we were always discouraged to do what we wanted. I had originally thought I was going to be a singer. Now though, if I wasn’t acting, I would have been a farmer. I love the soil; it’s intriguing because it’s so powerful. Many things depend on soil.
My agent sent me for an audition and at the time the title was Motherland. We didn’t get a synopsis of the film and I just had lines to read for the audition. I just read what I was supposed to and then received a call that I had been cast. Only then did I know the name of the movie. Even when I went to shoot, I was given my lines and not the whole script.
When I saw the cast they had put together for the film, I realized I was in something big even though I didn’t know how it was going to be received. When the first trailer came out, I knew for sure this was going to be a big movie. I was wowed!
It was amazing! I went there with an open mind and I was right to do so. When I got there, I found I was working with people who are so humble, hard-working and professional. I felt like I was being reunited with people I have known for a long time. The vibe you get watching the movie is exactly the same vibe that was there during the filming.
There are a lot of things to do in this industry. There are many other careers behind the camera, and not just in front of it. It doesn’t matter how you look or how old you are unlike when you are in front of the camera. There, you stand a better chance to get a job and start from there.
The industry is small and the budgets too tight. I wish there was more money because it’s very difficult to be in a production where you will be employed for three months and then you don’t have a job after that.
Patrice Motsepe is the closest person to me because he is South African and the nearest referral point. He is humble, doesn’t show off and is a philanthropist. He always empowers other people, be it in education, sport or business.