When Chadwick Boseman tragically passed earlier this year, the world collectively mourned the loss of an artistic soul taken too soon. Boseman meant something to everyone, and suffered in the public eye with cancer for years without audiences being any the wiser. Prior to his death, Boseman worked on Ma Rainey‘s Black Bottom, which Netflix has shared the trailer for today.
The film is adapted from the play by August Wilson, and follows the narrative of tensions rising between Boseman’s character, an ambitious horn player, “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey, played by Viola Davis, and the white management determined to control her. A Pulitzer Prize-winning play in and of itself, the film adaptation of the legendary story was produced by a team of masters, including Todd Black, Dany Wolf and none other than Denzel Washington.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was initially part of a deal that Washington had made with HBO to translate a series of August Wilson’s plays into films. The deal was shifted to number one streaming service Netflix, with filming commencing on this particular adaptation mid-last year. Rather than filming in Chicago, where the play’s setting is based, pre-pandemic production was undertaken in Pittsburgh, with a little bit of behind the scenes magic to make it look like the aforementioned city in the year 1927.
Production was completed in mid-August of 2019, but Boseman passed due to complications with his colon cancer during post-production, making Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom his final film appearance. The anticipated film will hit Netflix on December 18, and after Boseman endured through a struggle with cancer to get up, go to work and make this movie happen, we damn well better be showing some love for it.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom hits Netflix on December 18, though it will screen in select theatres worldwide.