Chadwick Boseman pictured in final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Chadwick Boseman, 43, is pictured in his final film role as Netflix releases images from ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ just a month after his death from colon cancer

  • The actor stars in the period drama with Viola Davis
  • He plays horn player Levee who’s working on a recording session with blues singer Ma Rainey in Chicago in 1927 
  • The story, based on the 1982 play by August Wilson, centers on the singer’s clashes with her white management over control of her music 
  • The production was the last one Boseman worked on before his untimely death
  • The Black Panther star passed away on August 28 at age 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer 

A month after his shock death at 43, Netflix has released the first images of Chadwick Boseman in his final role.

The actor completed production on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom before he succumbed to colon cancer after a secret four-year battle with the disease.

On Wednesday, the streaming service tweeted four photos from the upcoming drama which explores racial tensions in Chicago in 1927.

Curtain call: A month after his shock death at 43, Netflix has released the first images of Chadwick Boseman in his final role, as a horn player in the film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Boseman stars in the movie as a horn player for blues singer Ma Rainey, played by Viola Davis.

The screenplay was adapted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson from Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s 1982 play.

The story, set against the racial tensions of the jazz age, centers on a recording session during which Ma Rainey clashes with her white manager and producer over control of her music.

Boseman’s character Levee also seeks to influence her recordings to further his own career and truth and lies are spun within the confines of the claustrophobic rehearsal room as the drama reaches a climax. 

The film will premiere on Netflix on December 18. 

Period drama: Boseman plays trumpeter Levee who accompanies blues singer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) at a recording session in Chicago in 1927 in an adaptation of August Wilson’s 1982 play

Racial divide: The story, set against the racial tensions of the jazz age, centers on Ma Rainey’s clashes with her white manager and producer over control of her music

Tribute: Davis, who won an Oscar for 2016’s Fences, told the NY Times that Boseman had poured himself fully into the role, discarding ‘whatever ego he had, whatever vanity he had’

Davis, who won an Oscar for 2016’s Fences, told the NY Times that Boseman had poured himself fully into the role.

‘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,’ the actress, 55, explained.

‘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.’

Director George C. Wolfe has previously described making the movie with Boseman as ‘a glorious experience.’ 

‘Everyday we all got to witness the ferocity of his talent and the gentleness of his heart. A truly blessed, loving, gifted and giving human being,’ Wolfe declared.

Heartfelt: ‘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,’ the actress, 55, explained. ‘That was absolutely, 150 percent off the table with Chadwick’

Private battle: Boseman had continued to pursue his acting career despite his 2016 colon cancer diagnosis and had undergone treatment while starring as Marvel’s Black Panther\. He died on August 28 at the age of 43

Boseman had continued to pursue his acting career despite his diagnosis and had undergone treatment while starring as Marvel’s Black Panther.

He also completed work on 21 Bridges, released in November 2019, and Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, released in June, before his death on August 28. 

Recently, his 21 Bridges co-star Sienna Miller revealed that Boseman, who also served as a producer on the movie, had stepped in when the studio refused to meet her salary demand for the project.

‘This was a pretty big budget film, and I know that everybody understands about the pay disparity in Hollywood, but I asked for a number that the studio wouldn’t get to,’ Miller, 38, told Empire magazine. ‘And because I was hesitant to go back to work and my daughter was starting school and it was an inconvenient time, I said: ‘I’ll do it if I’m compensated in the right way.”

She added: ‘And Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that that was what I deserved to be paid.’  

Miller described the gesture as ‘testament’ to Boseman’s character and said she couldn’t imagine any other man in Hollywood ‘behaving that graciously or respectfully’.  

Paid tribute: In an interview with Empire magazine, published Monday, Sienna Miller revealed her 21 Bridges co-star Chadwick Boseman had supplemented her pay from his own salary 

Gracious star: Miller said: ‘Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that that was what I deserved to be paid’

R.I.P.: Boseman had also completed work on Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods before his untimely death. The movie was released on Netflix in June before his untimely death

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