Colman Domingo is remembering one of the most emotional scenes on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with the late Chadwick Boseman.
In a recent panel about the movie, Colman recalled Chadwick being so moved by the story that Cutler tells that he just stopped performing.
The scene sees Cutler, played by Colman, telling a story about what happened to a Black pastor he knew when confronted by a group of White men. In reaction, Chadwick‘s Levee goes into a full rage about life and leads him to denouncing God.
“He stops mid way of the speech, and whatever was happening there I think [co-stars] Michael [Potts], Glynn [Turman], and I, we all knew it,” Colman said. “It was one of those moments when you go, ‘This is the good stuff, and we’re all here, do not step away.’”
He continued, “Something was happening with Chad, and he turned away. I thought he was about to stop the scene, and I don’t think I’ve ever done this before in my entire career, I just said, ‘Tell me, tell me.’ I was just yelling at him. ‘Tell me! Tell me!’ Like, do not give up this scene. And then he explodes with all the rage and fury and the questions of God’s will.”
“We all just embraced each other and sobbed,” Colman shared. “All these grown men with tears in their eyes. Michael, Glynn, Chad, myself we were silent for at least a good minute and we were all trying to collect ourselves. We didn’t know what was in the room and what we were actually dealing with, what were the underpinnings of that scene. It was a whisper at first and then it was a roar.”
Colman was one of the many in the dark about Chadwick‘s cancer and says that the moment was truly a reflection of the actor and his reality.
“That man had this fight in him to the very end, and now it makes sense why he’s played so many kings in rapid succession, it’s as if he knew he didn’t have enough time on this Earth,” Colman added. “Or he wasn’t given to us for that long. But he made such an impression that I think this film seals the deal.”
For his role in the film, Chadwick will be promoted by Netflix for a posthumous recognition at the Oscars.
Chadwick sadly passed away in August from colon cancer.
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