Teen Takes The Lead In Inspiring Flick ‘Queen Of Katwe’

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In the movie ‘Queen of Katwe’, 10-year-old Phiona, played by newcomer Medina Nalwang, and her family live in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Uganda where life is a constant struggle.

Her mother, Harriet, played by Lupita Nyong’o, is determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly to do so.

When Phiona meets Robert Katende, played by actor David Oyelowo, a missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated.

This real life story is brought to the big screen by Disney Pictures. For actor David Oyelowo, it was a breath of fresh air.

“The fact that it’s an African story with such life to it. It isn’t rooted in all the negative stuff that we so often see in films about Africa, and it’s a true story. There’s nothing made up about it,” David said.

The real Robert Katende, the man who taught Phiona the game of chess, was the on-set consultant making sure the games were played properly.  He was there watching every move.

“My research was walking around every day right in front of me. Such a humble guy and thankfully he didn’t tell me how to play the role,” he said.

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked David if he had ever played chess before.

“No,” he said. “It’s difficult, but its such great brain food.”

Fourteen-year-old Medina Nalwang is making her acting debut in the lead role in this film.

“Thousands of people were seen for the role as you can imagine, this is a big Disney movie. The specific quality that Medina had is that intangible thing. You can’t put a finger on what it is. It’s just called star quality. She was found in a dance troupe dancing,” said David.

The entire movie was shot on location in Uganda, in the real village in which the story takes place.

For David, he’s just thrilled this story made it on the big screen.

“The amazing thing about this film is that it’s kind of a miracle. This is not the kind of film you see a big studio making,” he said.

Click here to find out what movies are playing in your area.

More from Lisa Petrillo

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