The first photos of Chadwick Boseman's final film are here, and from the sneak peek, it seems that this role is sure to cement the late actor's footing as an icon.
Boseman died in late August from colon cancer. On his Instagram, his team confirmed his death, writing with “immeasurable grief” that he had died in his home with his family by his side. He was 43 years old.
But his legacy continues. The film "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is coming to Netflix on Dec. 18 and stars Boseman as Levee, a trumpeter. Directed by George C. Wolfe, who also directed "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and produced in part by Denzel Washington, the movie is based on the play of the same name by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson. The film tells a fictional story of the real-life legend and blues singer, Ma Rainey.
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Called the "Mother of the Blues," Rainey was famous for her powerful vocal abilities and "moaning" style of singing. She bridged vaudeville and southern blues, and was one of the earliest known professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record music.
"The film is about the trailblazing performer as she engages in a battle of wills with her white management and ambitious horn player, Levee, over control of her music during a recording session in 1920s Chicago," according to a statement from Netlfix. "It is also about the war between Ma’s ambitious horn player, Levee, and the future he envisions versus the past he cannot escape."
Academy Award-winner Viola Davis will portray Rainey, and Boseman will play Levee in the film that "celebrates the transformative power of the blues and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth."
“He did a brilliant job, and he’s gone,” Washington told the New York Times. “I still can’t believe it.”
“A lot of actors mistake their presence for the event,” Davis said about her late co-star, also to the New York Times. “An actor of Chadwick’s status usually comes on and it’s their ego who comes on before them: This is what they want, this is what they’re not going to do. That was absolutely, 150 percent off the table with Chadwick. He could completely discard whatever ego he had, whatever vanity he had, and welcome Levee in.”
Fans took to social media to express their excitement and sorrow about the late "Black Panther" star's posthumous return to the small screen.
One person wrote, "Wow! First-look photos of Chadwick Boseman in @netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Will be bittersweet to see him on screen again."
Another added, "It’s the way imma be sobbing as soon as I see Chadwick on the screen in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom."
One Twitter user, named the Oscar Expert, tweeted a bold prediction, writing, "This is feeding hard into my existing prediction that both performers will win Oscars."