Chadwick Boseman 'Truly Learned to Play' the Trumpet for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Says Costar
Chadwick Boseman took his Ma Rainey's Black Bottom role very seriously.
In a recently released featurette that goes hand in hand with the release of the new Netflix film, Boseman's costars detailed that he was fully committed to his role and even learned how to play the trumpet.
According to Boseman's costar, Colman Domingo, the late actor — who died in August after a private four-year battle with colon cancer — and his dedication to his role inspired the other cast members to similarly follow suit.
"He truly learned to play," Domingo said in the clip. "I think everyone was like, 'Oh, that’s what you’re doing, Chad? Okay, now I’m gonna learn too.'"
The actor added, "I love that [Chadwick's] like, 'Yeah, I'm gonna challenge you. We're gonna challenge each other.'"
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is based on August Wilson's 1982 play about the "Mother of Blues" Ma Rainey, portrayed by Viola Davis, and her experience with white management at the time. The movie takes place in 1927 Chicago and explores the racial tension in the music world as white record executives profited off of Black artists.
Boseman, in his lively last role, stars as a troubled trumpet who bets on his talent for his own spot in the music world.
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In the two-minute-long clip, fellow costar Glynn Turman also recalled Boseman working hard to master the trumpet ahead of filming and how it similarly inspired him to commit to his own role.
"We were all staying in the same hotel. It started sounding like a music school," he recalled. "You get off the elevator and you could hear Chadwick working on it. Made you say, 'Hey, I don’t want to practice right now, but I better get to start practicing.'"
Davis spoke with Yahoo! Entertainment last week, where she detailed that she "broke down" after hearing the news of Boseman's death over the summer.
"I broke down when I heard he passed," Davis, 55, said. "Lord knows we all would’ve wanted him to live another 50 years. We all want longevity. But I can’t see his life tragically at all."
"Because I felt like he was always living in the moment, squeezing out every bit of life," she continued. "What it makes me think is, it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality."
Davis added: "What I hold onto with Chad is that he lived his life his way. I would say his professional life as absolutely paralleled his personal life, that’s my guess, in terms of how he lived with the utmost integrity."
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, featuring Boseman's last performance onscreen, is streaming on Netflix now.
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