Netflix has halted the release of the new Chicago-set drama, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Chadwick Boseman due to the shocking and devastating news of his death. The star was 43, and lost his 4-year battle to colon cancer.
A virtual preview of first-seen clips from the film was scheduled for Monday, as well as a discussion with director George C. Wolfe and Boseman’s co-star, Viola Davis. That event has now been rescheduled.
His co-star Viola Davis paid tribute and tweeted, “Chadwick….no words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity….
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Netflix also posted a tribute to the actor:
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is Boseman’s final performance, and adapted screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner, August Wilson. The film is set on the backdrop of Chicago, in 1927. It touches upon race, art, religion and the exposed unfair treatment of black recording artists by white producers.
The story takes place at a recording studio where they produce songs for a new album. Ma Rainey’s band players include Cutler, Toledo, Slow Drag, and Levee. When they gather, they tell stories, make jokes, philosophize, and argue.Tensions begin to rise between Ma Rainey, her white agent and producer, and her bandmates.
The film also stars Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman and Michael Potts. Multiple Tony Award-winner George C. Wolfe (Lackawanna Blues, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) directed the film from a script adapted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Alongside Todd Black and Dany Wolf, and produced by Denzel Washington.
Denzel Washington honored Boseman’s death in his statement “He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman.”
The film is set to be released sometime this year, no dates confirmed yet.