Chadwick Boseman’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ co-star Colman Domingo praises his final performance

Chadwick Boseman, left, and Colman Domingo, right, star in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. (Photo: David Lee/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Colman Domingo has much respect for his late Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom co-star Chadwick Boseman.

“He was a great man and I actually just watched his work last night,” he said Wednesday on SiriusXM’s EW Live. “I wanted to focus on Chad and watch the film again. And I was astounded, you know, I was in the room and we were working off of each other, but to see the magnitude of what he was able to accomplish while he was struggling with his bout of cancer, it’s superhuman. You know, I’m an able-bodied man, it was tough for me, it was tough for Viola and Glynn and Michael. But Chad, he powered through it and he, there was that conviction. I think that faith, he was a king among kings.”

Boseman, 43, died on Aug. 28, four years after having been diagnosed with colon cancer. It was shocking, because of both his relatively young age and the fact that he hadn’t publicly shared his health issues. Unbeknownst to audiences, Boseman had given some of his most impressive performances, including the one in Black Panther, in between surgeries and treatments. His final film — an adaptation of the August Wilson play about legendary blues artist Gertrude “Ma” Rainey — arrives Dec. 18 on Netflix.

“I think that even the fact that he was so private about his struggle, cause I feel like he didn’t want to dwell on that,” Domingo said. “He wanted to go for the joy. He was still going forward. You know, he wasn’t letting his illness drive him backwards. He was like, ‘What can I do? What can I create?’ And so every take, I know he came in with so much joy and I’m actually, as I’m thinking about, I’m very inspired by that.”

Domingo, whose credits also include Euphoria and Selma, credited Boseman with having had “an incredible work ethic and a good heart.” He reminded Domingo of the importance of being grateful.

“I feel like I’ve learned from him as a comrade and I’ve always been this way, but even more so I take no moment for granted because you really never know,” Domingo said. “In every opportunity I get to act, to write, to directly whatever, I just want to eat it up and make and have a tremendous impact because like as we’ve witnessed with Chad, you never know when it’s your last and this was his last film. And I know for sure he gave it all that he had.”

On Monday, George C. Wolfe, who directed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, seemed to confirm that when he told the Wall Street Journal that Boseman had broken into tears during an intense scene with Domingo.

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