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Viola Davis remembered Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey

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“You did not see any of it.”

Last month, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 after a colon cancer diagnosis.

Valerie Macon / Getty Images

Since then, his co-stars have honored his memory by sharing stories of what it was like to work with him.


It was revealed that Chadwick was filming his most iconic roles after his diagnosis in 2016, while keeping his illness private.

This week, in a new interview with Zora, Viola Davis talked about working with Chadwick on her latest film, Netflix’s Ma Raineys black bottom.

Rachel Murray / Getty Images

Based on August Wilson’s award-winning play of the same name, the film follows Ma Rainey, a 1920s blues singer in Chicago who deals with race struggles and conditions in the music industry. Viola plays as Ma Rainey, while Chadwick played Levee, a trumpeter in the band with ambitions to go solo.

“He was extremely tired,” said the Oscar winner, remembering Chadwick. “But there are a lot of tired people in the industry, especially people in his position.”

David Lee / David Lee / Netflix

“Eventually I noticed that all the wonderful people he surrounded himself with always prayed over him and meditated on him and I thought that was part of what he demanded or [how he] created the sacred space. I did not know that they were just trying to pour life and energy into him. “

David Lee / David Lee / Netflix

“He just wanted to fall asleep standing, but boy, when the camera rolled? You did not see any of it.”

David Lee / David Lee / Netflix

“He was thinner,” added the film’s director, George C. Wolf, “but I thought, you know, actors, they fast, they do all these things. I also thought he was throwing some of Black Panther facade. And the slenderness and that kind of slenderness worked very well for Levee. ”

“He’s not chasing the green, not chasing the money, just chasing the work,” Viola continued. “He was willing to let go of the ego and almost insist on leaving Chadwick Boseman at the door and letting it Black Pantherto create a billion dollars at the door. ”

David Lee / David Lee / Netflix

This just confirms what we already know – Chadwick was incredibly talented and a pure soul. He will be missed. RIP 💔.

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