Most actors have the same old story when it comes to landing roles. They get a call from their agent, they audition, and boom, the role is theirs. I expected a similar tale when I talked to the newest star of Coming 2 America, Nomzamo Mbatha, but her audition tale was far from boring.
“Where do I start?” the South African actress says laughing when I ask how she landed the role of Mirembe in the Coming to America sequel. “I am in Abu Dhabi. I’m doing some work with the United Nations — as you know, I’m the Goodwill Ambassador for the refugee agency at the U.N. So I’m doing work and we’re shooting this thing and I get a call from my agent and he says, ‘Nomzamo, I need you to be on a flight back to L.A. ASAP.’ You can send in a tape for this project, but being in the room is where you need to be.'”
Mbatha admits she was hesitant to drop everything, lamenting how she’d put up money for other projects before that she didn’t land. Plus she had another obligation back in her home country.
“I was supposed to fly from Abu Dhabi straight back to South Africa for the South African Music Awards. They were waiting for me at rehearsals.” I gasp. “Right!” she says. “So I changed my flight. I canceled my flight from Abu Dhabi to South Africa and booked a whole new flight from Dubai to L.A.”
The story doesn’t stop there, however (I also skipped over the part where Mbatha had to wake up at 4 am to drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai to make her flight to L.A.). When the actress lands in L.A. she received some rather disappointing news.
“I land the afternoon before the audition and the day of the audition I’m getting my hair and makeup done and I get a call from my manager. Crystal says, ‘Oh my God, you won’t believe this, she can’t see you today. The agent can’t see you today.’ I was like, does she know I’m in America just for her? Make a plan or something!” Mbatha says laughing.
Twenty-five minutes or so later, Mbatha receives another call from her agent telling her, “Get in the Uber right now, they’re willing to see you.”
Mbatha, of course, follows suit, explaining, “I go straight to the audition and Leah Butler (the casting director) was just the most amazing, amazing woman, she gave me so much relaxation and so much kindness.”
If you’ve seen Coming 2 America already, you know the audition went well. But you may not know the full backstory of the reigning princess of Zamunda. Check out our interview with her in the video above as she talks about pursuing acting, the stories she wants to tell on the big screen, and using her platform to give back to her country.