We finally have a sneak peek into the beloved actor's final role in the new Netflix adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Based on August Wilson’s 1984 highly lauded play, the film is directed by George C. Wolfe, and produced by Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom stars Viola Davis as Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, the iconic singer known as the “Mother of the Blues.” (Davis won an Oscar in 2017 for her role in another Wilson film adaptation, Fences). The movie takes place during a tense recording session in 1920s Chicago, when Ma Rainey butts heads with her trumpeteer, Levee (Boseman). He wants to put a more modern spin on the singer’s music in order to make a name for himself.
In the photos we can see a determined Boseman as Levee surrounded by his bandmates, and Davis all done-up in velvet gowns emoting as she sings. There's also a behind-the-scenes shot of Boseman and Davis getting notes from their director, Wolfe.
“He did a brilliant job, and he’s gone,” said Washington of Boseman's work in the film. In August, the 43-year-old Boseman died after a quietly battling colon cancer. “I still can’t believe it.” The New York Times called it the actor's "finest screen performance" and "practically assured of Oscar recognition."
Washington was entrusted by the late Wilson's estate to bring his plays to the big screen — Fences was the first, followed by Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and an upcoming adaptation of Wilson’s 1987 play, The Piano Lesson, directed by Barry Jenkins.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be available on Netflix on December 18.