The late performer -- who died in August after a secret years-long battle with colon cancer -- stars opposite Viola Davis in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, an adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name. The film is directed by George C. Wolfe and co-produced by Denzel Washington.
Set in 1920s Chicago, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom tells the story of a tumultuous recording session, as a band of musicians led by ambitious trumpet player Levee (Boseman) impatiently await the arrival of the legendary "mother of blues" Ma Rainey (Davis).
Davis and Washington were just two of the many stars who paid tribute to Boseman following new of his death on Aug. 28.
"Chadwick.....no words to express my devastation of losing you," Davis wrote alongside several Instagram pics with the late star. "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 and Boseman shared a special bond: the story of how Washington paid for Boseman's acting program is an anecdote now intrinsically tied to the young actor's origin story. That they worked together on what became the Black Panther star's final film is a tragic full-circle moment.
During an "In Conversation With..." virtual panel alongside filmmaker Barry Levinson at the Toronto International Film Festival's Bell Digital Talks Cinema, Washington remembered his friend and collaborator as a "gentle man." "A very, very gentle soul," he said. "A great talent, obviously."
"Who knew he didn't have much life left? But he didn't get cheated. We did," he continued. "He didn't get cheated, we did. I pray for his poor wife and his family, they got cheated. But he lived a full life."
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom premieres on Netflix on Dec. 18.