Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is one of the most anticipated films of 2020, in large part because it was the last film Chadwick Boseman made before his tragic death. Now, the film’s distributor Netflix has provided the first look at the August Wilson adaptation.
Netflix Film’s Twitter account posted four images featuring the late actor, as well as Viola Davis, in the film. “Here's your first look at Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM, based on August Wilson’s award-winning play from director George C. Wolfe,” the tweet reads. Denzel Washington will serve as executive producer.
Wolfe’s upcoming adaptation of August Wilson’s 1982 stage play of the same name will depict Davis as Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, an iconic blues singer who became known as the “Mother of the Blues.” It’s set during a recording session during the 1920s in Chicago and shows Ma arguing with her producer and manager of the control of her music. She also goes toe-to-toe with Boseman’s character Levee, a skilled trumpeter in her band who is determined to strike it big in the music business.
Washington told the New York Times that Boseman “did a brilliant job” acting in the film and “still can’t believe” he’s gone. Additionally, Davis spoke of the actor’s character along with his acting prowess.
“A lot of actors mistake their presence for the event,” Davis said of Boseman. “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.”
Chadwick Boseman passed away on August 28 at age 43 after a four year battle with colon cancer. The tragic news was confirmed via the actor’s official Instagram.
The South Carolina native left his mark by playing some of the most iconic Black figures in history, including Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up. He also played Black Panther in the Ryan Coogler-directed film and the Avengers franchise.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will begin streaming on Netflix December 18.
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for dcp)