Chadwick Boseman’s final film role left a lasting impression on his co-stars.
Boseman, who died in August of colon cancer at the age of 43, stars in the new Netflix film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which follows blues singer Ma Rainey, played by Viola Davis, and her band in 1920s Chicago.
The late "Black Panther" star portrays Levee, a trumpeter in the band.
“Chadwick was playing all the time, going hard in his hands at every moment,” co-star Glynn Turman said, when he and castmates Colman Domingo and Michael Potts joined the film’s director, George C. Wolfe, in a conversation with TODAY’s Craig Melvin that aired Friday.
Boseman remained silent about his cancer diagnosis, astonishing the cast when they think about how he managed to shoot the movie.
“When I tell you, not one person saw it,” Domingo said.
“The man, we all say he always demanded, ‘George, can I get one more? Can I get one more?’ Always wanted to do another take, another take. He was a consummate professional,” he added.
“And he was having a good time,” Potts said. “And that was, I mean, you had all the superhuman strength, but you had someone who was truly enjoying the process of doing this and being here. It was incredibly important to him.”
The movie, an adaptation of the 1984 play of the same name written by Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson, may take place nearly a century ago, but it’s a story applicable to modern-day America, given the subject matter of race, ambition and how it all connects to the struggle to achieve the American dream.
“That's attributed to August Wilson and his foresight as a playwright and a human being,” Turman said. “All the questions that he asked, ‘What are we going to do as a people, as a Black people? Where is the Black man today?’ Those are those are the nucleuses of our universe right now."
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" is available to stream on Netflix beginning Friday.
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