Veteran South African actoress Connie Chiume says her role in the film "Black Panther" may well be the biggest highlight of her 40-year acting career.
Chiume stars in the film alongside fellow South African father-and-son duo John and Atandwa Kani. She portrays a mining tribe elder.
Come January 29, she'll be in Los Angeles for the film's red-carpet premiere, and she could not be more excited.
Speaking to HuffPost, Chiume was feeling inspired.
"I don't know how to describe my joy being a part of such a big movie and to have worked with Marvel. I feel that the horizon is becoming wider, and more opportunities are on the way.
"Our industry here at home is quite small, and there comes a time where you feel like you have reached the ceiling, and you can't move further. So getting an opportunity like this feels like one is getting a chance to experience the other side," she said.
40 years in...
"This is the biggest thing I have ever done in my 40 years of acting. Although I have other international movies I starred in, they were filmed here at home –– and I only got to work with certain members of the production team and maybe a few cast members here and there.
"This one was different. I went to their own turf, Atlanta, and shot there with all the big names that are involved –– and also watched how they do things. It was a whole new experience and a great highlight, to work on the same set with all these stars."
Working with the Kanis
Chiume said that although she did not share scenes with either John or Atandwa, she got to work with the latter after the shooting had concluded, and the experience was total bliss.
"Atandwa became the cultural advisor for 'Black Panther' as Bra John introduced Xhosa as the language of Wakanda –– which meant some of the dialogue was done in the language, and so were the songs.
"So I worked with Atandwa teaching fellow cast members songs and just how to pronounce words –– especially the clicks. That's when I really got to work with him, and it was really great," she said.
The premiere and the Pan African Film Festival
"I'm busy working on preparations to travel to LA, where I will also be attending the Pan African Film Festival. I'm a bit frantic, because it's all happening so fast, but I am really happy that all this is happening."
Chiume said she was grateful for the support of South Africans who have rallied behind her ahead of the premiere.
"One person in particular, Phil Mphela, took the initiative to call on fellow South Africans to come together and get me looking great for this big moment in my life. Since then, I have had so many offers for outfits from designers who want to dress me. I have outfits for both the main event and the film fest. At this rate, it seems like the after parties might also be sorted soon," she said.
Her message for aspiring actors...
"Go to school first. If you wanted to go into entertainment for the red carpet parties and social media following, don't bother –– because you won't last. Short cuts don't work. Our industry, as glamorous as it looks, can be very cruel, and I can't emphasise that enough. As an actor, you can be working today and not working tomorrow," she said.
"Black Panther" is due for release in cinemas on February 16.
Also starring in the movie are Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett.
You can watch the trailer here: