Netflix has chosen to delay a virtual preview event that was originally scheduled for Monday for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” after the loss of Chadwick Boseman on Friday.
After a 4-year battle with colon cancer, Boseman,43, passed away on Friday. The marvel superhero kept his diagnosis entirely private, which added to the shock of his passing.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is destined to be one of Boseman’s last screen performances, Variety reports and is based off an August Wilson play set in the late 1920s which focuses on the pioneering “queen of the blues”—which is played by Viola Davis and her band members.
Boseman plays Levee, a talented but troubled trumpet player who has his eye for Rainey’s girlfriend and is determined to make his own claim to fame in the music industry.
The movie is directed by George C. Wolfe and is produced by Denzel Washington and Escape Artists.
“We are heartbroken over today’s news of the passing of Chadwick Boseman, a ‘true fighter’ as his family called him in their poignant tribute,” Netflix said in a statement. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“This is an incredible loss. We are canceling Monday’s preview event of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’ Please join us in sending your thoughts to his family and loved ones.”
Boseman has been called a “superhero on screen and in life” by Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, who was marveled by Boseman’s work ethic.
“It’s impossible to imagine working at the level he has while valiantly battling his illness. His legacy as a person and an artist will inspire millions. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time,” Sarandos said in a statement.
“Working with Chadwick on ‘Ma Rainey’ was a glorious experience. Every day 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,” said Wolfe.
Co-star Davis released a tweet after Boseman’s passing, “Chadwick…no words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity…It was an honor working beside you, getting to know you….Rest well prince…May flights of angels sing thee to thy heavenly rest. I love you!”
Washington also offered words of sympathy, “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,” he said.
Boseman was not scheduled to appear at Monday’s Q&A event with Wolfe and Davis to celebrate the movie and the life and work of Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. Wilson died at the age of 60 and is well known for his works, including “Fences” and “The Piano Lesson,” both were highly praised as honest and sensitive portrayals of Black life in the US during the 20th century.
The movie will be released later this year, and the filming of Boseman has been completed, according to the actor’s family. As for now, there has been no word if Boseman’s death will affect the release of the movie.