The Late Chadwick Boseman Stars in First Trailer for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Netflix has unveiled the first look at George C Wolfe’s new film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which will arrive on the streaming service in December, is based on the play of the same name by August Wilson (Fences) and tells the story of Ma Rainey (a virtually unrecognisable Viola Davis) and her blues band in 1920s Chicago.

As Ma battles with her white producer over control of her music, ambitious trumpet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) hopes to break into his own in the music industry. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Taylour Paige and Michael Potts co-star.

The trailer in itself is a thing of beauty: it brims with life, heart and soul. The jazz in the background sets the scene beautifully and almost feels like a character in its own right, while Davis and Boseman look to be electric together. Each of them is an incredibly talented actor in their own right, and to see them coming together like this is a joy. If Fences is anything to go by (the last time Davis worked with material from playwright August Wilson), audiences are sure to be in for a treat.

The film looks set to give Chadwick Boseman a fitting send-off. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be the actor’s final film appearance after his untimely passing in August, and based on what we see in the trailer, he looks set to have given the role his all – not that that will come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his work. In this two-minute trailer alone, he shows more heart, charisma, sorrow and genuine anguish than most actors working today can show in an entire film. Between this and his turn in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods earlier in the summer, one has to wonder if a posthumous Oscar nomination is on the horizon for him.

It is of course too early to truly speculate, but such an award would be a truly fitting send-off for a King such as he.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom hits Netflix on 18 December.

Words by Matt Taylor


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