Danai Gurira shares amazing tips and things she learned from working on AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead‘.
Danai Gurira recently spoke to the New York Times about her experiences and what she learned working on the set of ‘The Walking Dead’. In the interview, she shares some amazing experiences, tips for actors, and how she learned how to use her character’s trademark sword.
Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa, to Josephine and Roger Gurira, who were both from Zimbabwe. Her father was a Chemistry teacher at Grinnell College. When she was five, the family moved back to Zimbabwe, moving and living in the capital Harare. Gurira later returned to the United States, and studied social psychology at Macalester College, receiving an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Gurira says she learned from the character she portrayed, Michonne. She explains, “Michonne was very much someone I had to step up to, especially when she started to grow into herself and step away from her demons. When she became an item with Rick, Michonne was kind of more cool, and Rick was hot. The way she handles and assesses and comes to clarity about things — I’ve always said, she’s smarter than me, she’s faster than me, and she’s stronger than me. So I had to step into her agility and power. I always felt like I could learn from her as a woman, you know?”
“I’ve always said, she’s smarter than me, she’s faster than me, and she’s stronger than me. So I had to step into her agility and power.” – Danai Gurira on Playing Michonne
Gurira had to train for long periods of time to play an expert swordsman. She did much of her training during a play she had written, ‘The Convert’, while it was staged in Los Angeles. She reveals, “I was in the basement of the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, and I had a practice sword made of wood. So I would be talking about the language components of the play while learning how to move my body with the sword. It was on my mind all the time. I felt like I needed to become one with … not only with the character but with how she moves and how her weapon moves in her hand. I create black female characters, and I’d never imagined a woman like this. So I wanted to give her my all, to do her justice. I would practice with the sword during every break, and I would constantly go back to the trainer to learn more. It was never, ‘Oh, I’m great at this now.’ It was a constant learning curve.”