Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is not only Chadwick Boseman’s last film before his tragic passing, but quite arguably his best performance.
The film produced by Denzel Washington, is based on August Wilson’s 1984 play of the same name and is set in 1927. Viola Davis plays real-life blues legend Gertrude “Ma” Rainey while Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo and Michael Potts play members of her band. Boseman plays a strong-willed trumpet player named Levee.
HipHollywood caught up with his co-stars Domingo, Potts and Turman who praised his powerful performance and also opened up about bringing the play to the big screen.
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Director George C. Wolfe revealed in an interview with the WSJ Magazine, that after filming a scene during which Boseman’s character, Levee, confronts someone for believing in God, Boseman began to cry. “It was raw and explosive,” he said. “Afterwards, Chadwick just started to sob, and Colman [a co-star] hugged him, and then Chadwick’s girlfriend basically picked him up.”
Colman who played Cutler shared a similar story, about filming that scene.
“Something was happening with Chad, and he turned away. I thought he was about to stop the scene, and I don’t think I’ve ever done this before in my entire career, I just said, ‘Tell me, tell me.’ I was just yelling at him. ‘Tell me! Tell me!’ Like, do not give up this scene. And then he explodes with all the rage and fury and the questions of God’s will,” Domingo explained.
As Boseman drew to a close, Domingo described how the men in the room “all just embraced each other and sobbed”.
“All these grown men with tears in their eyes. Michael, Glynn, Chad, myself we were silent for at least a good minute and we were all trying to collect ourselves,” he divulged.
As previously reported Boseman passed on August 28, 2020 after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premieres on Dec. 18 on Netflix.
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