Brooke Obie Interviews ‘Black Panther’ Stuntwoman Who Prayed Her Way Into the Role
Ask and it shall be given unto you.
Stuntwoman and actress Janeshia Adams-Ginyard took that Scripture to heart when she started thanking God in prayer every day for landing a role in a blockbuster film that hadn’t even begun auditions yet.
“[Every day my prayers] always started off with, ‘Lord Jesus, I thank you in advance for Black Panther,'” Ginyard tells Guideposts.org of her ritual praise to be a stuntwoman in the big-budget superhero movie whose pre-sale ticket sales have sold more than any other superhero film to date. But she didn’t just pray.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, “Thought Conditioners”. Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
“In April 2016, my stunt mentor comes to me and she says, ‘Hey, they’re gonna be doing this Black Panther movie, and you get that TaeKwonDo stuff up, get your kicks and everything up because they’re gonna need you. They’re gonna need your skills.'” Ginyard hadn’t heard anything about casting for Marvel’s newest tentpole film, but she trusted her mentor, who had just wrapped working on the Marvel film Captain America: Civil War, where the superhero Black Panther is first introduced. Ginyard went to work, strengthening her skills and believing God had a stuntwoman role for her in what was sure to be a hit franchise of its own.
In September 2016, Ginyard got the email she and her church family had been praying for.
“I had an audition with Sarah Finn Casting, who is the casting director for basically all the Marvel Movies for an ‘Untitled Marvel Feature.’ Well, I already knew what that was. I’m like, ‘It’s Black Panther!'” She says. “Next thing you know they flew me to Atlanta to meet [director] Ryan Coogler, and I had the audition in front of him and a lot of the big wigs.”
Ginyard showed off her TaeKwonDo skills and learned the choreography they taught her for a fight sequence during the grueling auditions.
“And then I get a final email: ‘Hey, if you’re receiving this email you’ve been selected. You made it,” she says, “So, from the time I auditioned in front of Ryan, to the time I flew down to Atlanta to start shooting, was probably less than two weeks.”
She’d gotten the job she’d prayed for, but God wasn’t finished blessing her for her faith.
Once she found out that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o was going to star in Black Panther, Ginyard had been praying to be her stunt double.
“The Lord was like, “I’ve got something bigger and better for you.”
Though Nyong’o is fantastic in the film and has her fair share of action, The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira steals the show as Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje army of Black Panther’s country, Wakanda. Gurira is the breakout female lead of the film, with the most screen time and action sequences. Ginyard was chosen to double for her.
“And by doubling [Gurira], I have been able to cross over and do doubling on Avengers. Oh, I get chills! [God] is always working on my behalf,” she says.
Not only does Ginyard now get to be a stunt double in two Marvel franchises, she also plays a role as a member of the Dora Milaje in Black Panther and stars in a Lexus commercial for the film that aired during the Super Bowl.