Viola Davis talked to “Extra” about working alongside Chadwick Boseman on his final film project, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Chadwick was secretly battling colon cancer while starring opposite Viola in the 1920s blues drama. He died in August at 43.
Davis called working with him “perfection,” adding, “What it does is it elevates him more to the level of heroism… Someone who literally… can sort of put themselves aside and work for the greater work. Someone who works with integrity… and someone absolutely who had a fierce belief in God and a higher power. That’s why I know Chadwick is OK.”
She continued, “There is something in my spirit that feels like he was ready. There’s also something in my spirit that feels he absolutely lived right… He squeezed every bit of the beauty of life in every single moment… and that brings me some contentment.”
Chadwick played an ambitious trumpeter in the movie, while Viola is the real-life mother of the blues, Ma Rainey. The movie centers on a fateful recording session and a battle with white music producers over control of her music.
Davis shared with Nate which part of the character she identified with most: “The parts of her that want everyone to know her worth and value. That’s the part I will identify with.”
She added, “This is my big thing. I don’t like when people question my ability… I can’t stand that, and that’s coming from me as a Black artist and as a Black female artist. That part I really understand Ma.”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” debuts December 18 on Netflix.
Two of our greatest heavy weights acting together is going to be amazing, Chadwick is still missed.
EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Chadwick Boseman as Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. "I got talent, I got style, everybody can't play like I do."
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will premiere December 18 globally on Netflix pic.twitter.com/3YVNr1FLzE
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) December 4, 2020