Not all superheroes wear capes. Actress Dominique Thorne is proof of that. Not just because the hero she’s been cast to play in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe literally doesn’t wear one, but because she’s already using the influence she’s gained from the role for good.
Three years ago, Thorne was cast as the MCU’s Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart. While the actress just finally made her debut as the character in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, she’s confirmed to reprise the role in her solo spin-off series later this year. Thorne’s character hasn’t even formally been given the name of Ironheart in the franchise yet. Still, just recently, she used her cinematic alter ego as a means to comfort young patients at the Children’s Health Care Center of Atlanta.
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Last week, Thorne teamed up with the facial tissue company Puffs® for the relaunch of its “Power Pals” campaign. In an exclusive interview with The DisInsider, Thorne explained that she became a part of the campaign and visited the center because she wanted to “find a way to bring [the patients] comfort, to bring them encouragement, to bring them joy in some form.” She added that she wanted her presence to be a reminder to all of the children that they each had a “superhero fighter” of their own inside of them.
Now, Puffs® Power Pals are the company’s latest 2D mascots set to grace its tissue boxes. As Thorne explains, each kid at the Center was given a blown-up poster featuring one of the seven new characters that they identified with.
While it seems like Thorne boarded the superhero-centric campaign because of her new role, she revealed that the cause was personal to her. “My mother was actually a babysitter for the first 15 years of my life,” she said. “And so for my entire childhood, and teenage years, I grew up in the homes of all these kids from a bunch of different ages. And I saw my mom take care of sick kids, healthy kids, kids with disabilities that were visible and disabilities that weren’t. And that was what my childhood was about, seeing the care that you can give to a child.”
She explained that she considered the parents and family members of the children as the real heroes. Aligning with the Puffs® company’s main mission, she wanted to offer them the most comfort.
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Now, on top of her experience with the campaign, Thorne was generous enough to speak about her upcoming series at Disney+. While she couldn’t give too much away, she did tease that the series will explore the “heart” of who Riri Williams really is. She explained that the character we met in Wakanda Forever isn’t the real Riri. The events of the film have also changed her.
“Removing the fact that she was under extreme stress and removing the fact that she is being exposed to parts of the world that she’s never seen before the way that she was in Wakanda, it allows for you to get to know the person at the core,” she said. “Who is this individual when she’s not panicking? Who is she when she’s waking up on a Thursday? And so it really is an opportunity to explore the [parts] of her that we saw in extremes [and] to get to go to the source of it, to ultimately get a better understanding of who this character is.”
She also teased that the events of Wakanda Forever will not soon be forgotten. She clarified: “To know that this is an individual who, in an effort to sort of say, ‘In your face’ to her professor, caused an interspecies war on land and sea, where unfortunately, folks had lost their lives, and ultimately has changed the trajectory of an iconic nation – something that she did because she felt like it, because she wanted to prove somebody wrong. What does that mean?”
“That’s a question that we didn’t have time to ask, or to really consider, with all that needed to be tended to in Wakanda [and] Talokan,” she said. “In Ironheart we have all the time in the world.”
You can check out the full interview down below!
Be sure to check out the Ironheart when it hits Disney+ later this year.
Other actors attached besides include Anthony Ramos and Jim Rash, as well as Manny Montana (Good Girls), Lyric Ross (This Is Us), Harper Anthony (Chicago Med), and Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story). There is also a possibility Sam Jackson could appear as Nick Fury.
Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes are directing Ironheart from a script by Chinaka Hodge (Amazing Stories), who also serves as the head writer on the six-episode first season. Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler have also joined the team as executive producers alongside Kevin Feige, Louise D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, and Zoie Nagelhout.
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