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Netflix Debuts First Look At Chadwick Boseman's Final Film, 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'

Netflix Previews Chadwick Boseman's Final Film, 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'
October 1, 2020 - 21:38 / Lucas Anderson

Netflix has debuted a first look at Chadwick Boseman's final film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The preview comes just over a month after the Black Panther star passed away, on Aug. 28. The film, starring Viola Davis, will premiere on Netflix in December, in time for the 2020 awards season.

Chadwick Boseman, who passed away on Aug. 28 after battling colon cancer, reappeared this week in first-look images of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The Netflix film was the actor's final role. Based on the play of the same title by August Wilson, Ma Rainey will arrive on Netflix in December, in time to put Boseman in contention for awards season and a possible Oscar win.

Netflix previews Chadwick Boseman's final movie role

A little over a month after Boseman's death, Netflix revived memories of the Black Panther star by debuting the first images of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Denzel Washinton produced the movie, in which Boseman co-stars to lead actress Viola Davis.

Chadwick Boseman in a scene from the movie "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom."

"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. 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," Davis said of her late co-star and his character in an interview with The New York Times on the release of the new images.

In the film, Boseman plays "Levee," an ambitious trumpeter who collaborates with "Ma Rainey" (Davis), a legendary 1920s Chicago blues musician.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: Chadwick Boseman's last film

Although it's not the lead role, Boseman's work is key in the film, since his character carries the dramatic thread in Wilson's source material.

Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the recording of the movie "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom."

"[Chadwick] did a brilliant job, and he's gone. I still can't believe it," Denzel Washington, producer, told The New York Times.

The performance remains unseen for now, but recent reports say Netflix will campaign for Boseman to posthumously compete for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The promotion began today with the publication of the first images of the film.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will premiere on Netflix on Dec. 18.