Chadwick Boseman’s final movie Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has officially been released bowed on Netflix.
The actor filmed his final film last year in Pittsburgh where production wrapped in August 2019, almost exactly a year before his death.
Viola Davis leads the movie as the real-life blues icon Ma Rainey. Boseman plays a fictional trumpeter called Levee who clashes with Ma during a recording session in Chicago in the 1920s.
Based on a play by theater legend August Wilson, the film was directed by George C. Wolfe who is best known for his work on Broadway.
Castle star Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who has also acted on Broadway multiple times, adapted the script from the original theater piece.
The movie bowed in theaters the day before Thanksgiving although its release was limited amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In the weeks since it appeared in theaters the movie has gotten exultant reviews and currently holds a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Denzel Washington, who co-starred with Viola Davis in a Broadway revival and then a film of August Wilson’s play Fences, is one of the producers of the new film.
“I broke down when I heard he passed,” Viola shared in a Yahoo! Entertainment interview that ran the day before the film bowed on Netflix.
“Lord knows we all would’ve wanted him to live another 50 years. We all want longevity. But I can’t see his life tragically at all…. Because I felt like he was always living in the moment, squeezing out every bit of life. What it makes me think is, it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality,” she said.
If Chadwick wins an Oscar he will be the first actor to do so posthumously since Heath Ledger in 2009 for playing the Joker in The Dark Knight.