The final movie starring Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, released its first look as Netflix dropped a clip on Wednesday. With the release also came the premiere date as the streaming service has designated Dec. 18 as the debut of Boseman's final film. The movie also stars Viola Davis, who plays the title character, Glenn Turman, Coleman Domingo and Michael Potts. George C. Wolfe serves as the director.
The movie tells the story of Chicago musicians led by Ma Rainey in what becomes a battle against her white manager and producers. Boseman's character, Levee, shares some insightful stories that propel the film. Timely considering all that is going on in the country, the movie tackles race issues and what life was like for black musicians in the 1920s.
Anticipation for the Netflix movie has increased rapidly since the tragic passing of Boseman on Aug. 28. The director of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom shared a tribute via The Hollywood Reporter after his death, saying it was an honor to get to work with him. "Chadwick, no words to express my devastation of losing you," Wolfe went on to say. "Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity." His co-star in the film, Davis, wrote on Twitter, 'Rest well prince… May flights of angels sing thee to thy heavenly rest." She also went on recently to speak very highly of him to the New York Times in their time working together on their latest project, "An actor of Chadwick's status usually comes on and it's their ego who comes on before them … That was absolutely, 150 percent off the table with Chadwick."
The Mother of the Blues is coming to @Netflix in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on the play by August Wilson and directed by George C. Wolfe. Watch it December 18. @MaRaineyFilm https://t.co/QD0QzO5gFi pic.twitter.com/sMHd18ovbE— Viola Davis (@violadavis) October 1, 2020
Boseman was 43-years-old at the time of his passing. It was learned after his death that he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2016 and continued to act and live his life as usual throughout his treatments before it eventually progressed to Stage 4 shortly before 2020. The Black Panther star had never spoken of his diagnosis before and continued to be an inspiration for many over his final years, which included visits to children's hospitals.