Chadwick Boseman ‘sobbed’ and had to be consoled by his wife after delivering a powerful and poignant scene in his final film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
The Black Panther star died in August at the age of 43 following a private battle with colon cancer.
Netflix’s Ma Rainey Black Bottom was the final movie Chadwick shot and will see him star as trumpet player Levee alongside the likes of Viola Davis and Colman Domingo.
Director George C. Wolfe has recalled one particularly memorable scene where Levee belittles Cutler (Domingo) for following his religion. It ends with an emotionally-charged monologue but Wolfe didn’t think Chadwick would throw himself into the piece during the nonchalant run-through.
Speaking to WSJ Magazine, Wolfe revealed: ‘We were doing it in a very casual way, and I assumed that when Levee got to the big speech that Chadwick was going to stop. But he didn’t stop. He kept going, and Levee took over—it was raw and explosive.
‘Afterwards, Chadwick just started to sob, and Colman hugged him, and then Chadwick’s girlfriend basically picked him up.’
At the time, Chadwick was dating Taylor Simone Ledward but married her in the months before his death.
Domingo also recalled that the late Marvel actor was sometimes preoccupied while on-set but, after being jokingly pulled up on it, made sure to greet his co-star with a hug and handshake every time.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based on August Wilson’s 1982 play about Ma Rainey (Davis), who was considered to be the Mother of Blues.
It’s set in 1927 Chicago and explores racial tension within the music industry as white record executives profited off Black artists – Rainey had white management at the time.
Chadwick did not disclose his devastating health battle to his co-stars and chose to fight it in private.
His cancer diagnosis was only revealed when the news of his death was shared on his Instagram account.
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Author: Alicia Adejobi