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Lupita Nyong'o chooses films with 'potential to shift a narrative'

By Annie Martin
Lupita Nyong'o chooses films with 'potential to shift a narrative'
Lupita Nyong'o said she selects projects that she believes will have social and cultural impact. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o says she chooses films with the "potential to shift a narrative."

Nyong'o, 36, explained in the February issue of British Vogue how she selects projects that she believes will have social and cultural impact.

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Nyong'o has starred in such films as 12 Years a Slave, Black Panther and Us. She said she's given herself "permission to take things slow" and be choosy about the roles she takes on.

"I don't get fulfillment from the number of zeros attached to a project," Nyong'o said. "What I'm seduced by is the potential to shift a narrative. That is very seductive to me, having social and cultural impact."

Nyong'o will star in and produce an adaptation of the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel Americanah. The story follows Ifemulu, a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to the U.S. to attend college.

Nyong'o, who is of Kenyan heritage and was born in Mexico, said she related to Ifemulu's experience in the U.S.

"I had never seen the African contemporary experience explored, celebrated and analyzed in such a way," Nyong'o said of the book. "The observations she makes as a non-American black person about America are things that I had never articulated but had felt. I was just madly in love."

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When asked about politics, Nyong'o said she doesn't shy from speaking her mind when it comes to issues she is passionate about.

"I speak up for the things I can personally vouch for," she said. "There's a lot going on in this world, a lot of causes that are noble. But I feel most useful when I have a personal connection. And the conviction to say something."

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HBO is adapting Americanah as a 10-episode limited series. The series co-stars Danai Gurira and is described as an "epic story" about Ifemulu's "extraordinary experiences with love, heartache, adversity and self-discovery."

Nyong'o most recently had a role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opened in theaters this month. She will star with Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing in the upcoming movie 355.

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