Spike Lee, Viola Davis and More Remember Chadwick Boseman in 'Portrait of an Artist' Special

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Chadwick Boseman
Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Chadwick Boseman's friends and former co-stars are paying tribute to the indelible mark left by the late actor's life and legacy in a new Netflix special.

Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist features interviews with Spike Lee, Viola Davis, Danai Gurira and more of the performers and directors who worked alongside Boseman during his celebrated career. The Black Panther star died on August 28, 2020, after a secret, years-long battle with colon cancer, but not before putting together an impressive body of work that included portrayals of real-life legends like Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first Black superhero. 

But according to the people who worked closely with him, Boseman was so much more than what you saw on the screen.

"Everyone wants to talk about what a great actor Chad was," 42 director Brian Helgeland shares in the trailer. "But he was something much rarer than that."

The special will also feature some of Boseman's own words, in which he points out that he struggled to think of himself as simply a performer. "I wouldn't necessarily call myself an actor," he's heard explaining in the clip. "I would call myself an artist."

Watch the full trailer below.

Boseman is posthumously nominated for Best Actor at the upcoming 93rd Annual Academy Awards, after winning similar honors at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Critics Choice Awards and NAACP Image Awards for his final film role: the cocky, volatile trumpet player Levee Green in George C. Wolfe's adaptation of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

"You know you have to step up when you're in his presence," Ma Rainey co-star Davis remembers in the Portrait of an Artist trailer. "He's looking at your work and he's like, really hyper focused — on the craft, on the process. That's Chad."

The full list of participants featured in Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist include:

Viola Davis (co-star, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Danai Gurira (co-star, Black Panther co-star)
Brian Helgeland (director, 42)
Reginald Hudlin (director, Marshall)
Aakomon “AJ” Jones (choreographer, Get On Up/Black Panther)
Woodie King Jr. (director, New Federal Theater)
Spike Lee (director, Da 5 Bloods)
Branford Marsalis (composer, arranger, music producer, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Andile Nebulane (actor and dialect coach, Black Panther)
Taylour Paige (co-star, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Phylicia Rashad (actor, director, producer, and professor, Howard University)
Tate Taylor (director, Get On Up)
Glynn Turman (co-star, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
George C. Wolfe (Director, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist will be available globally on Netflix on Saturday, April 17, and will be available for streaming for a limited 30 day window.

See more on Boseman in the video below.

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