Netflix delayed a virtual preview event for the movie Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Monday, following the death of its star, Chadwick Boseman.
The film adaptation of August Wilson’s play, about the queen of the blues and her band in the 1920s, will be his last film performance.
Boseman, who appears alongside Viola Davis and Colman Domingo, died of cancer last week at the age of 43.
Tributes were paid by producer Denzel Washington and Michael B Jordan.
The Black Panther actor’s diagnosis has remained entirely private and has come as a shock to many in the film industry and beyond.
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Netflix boss Ted Sarandos described Boseman as “a superhero on screen and in life.”
“It is impossible to imagine working at the level he has while fighting valiantly against his disease,” Sarandos said in a statement.
“His legacy as a person and an artist will inspire millions of people.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time,” he added.
In the next film, Boseman plays the ambitious trumpeter Levee, who has desires for musical success and for Rainey’s girlfriend.
Davis, who plays the lead role, tweeted that it was “an honor” to act alongside the star.
Boseman was not scheduled to appear at Monday’s online event, but Davis and director George C Wolfe were scheduled to participate in a Q&A on the film, commenting on the new preview images.
The family of the late actor have confirmed he has completed his entire filming for the role, and Wolfe said working with him was “a glorious experience.”
“Every day we have all witnessed the ferocity of his talent and the sweetness of his heart,” he said.
“A truly blessed, loving, gifted and generous human being. ”
According to Variety, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is still expected this year, and “there was no immediate word from Netflix on whether Boseman’s death would impact his release plans.”
The film was produced by Oscar winner Washington, who actually played a major role in Boseman’s life and career. Washington paid her tuition fees when the future star was studying at the British American Drama Academy.
“He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances during his short but illustrious career,” Washington told CNN.
‘Grace, courage and no regrets’
Boseman was considered by many to be the man who broke screen barriers for black actors with his lead role as T’Challa / Black Panther in the 2018 Marvel superhero film Black Panther.
Michael B Jordan, who played N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens in the film, paid tribute on social media to the man he called his “big brother” on Monday.
“I tried to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel,” he posted, alongside a series of photos of the two together.
“I thought about every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug… everything.
“I wish we had more time. One of the last times we spoke you said we were forever bonded, and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. “
Jordan added that Boseman had “paved the way for me”.
“You showed me how to be better, honor a goal and create a legacy,” he wrote.
“I wish we had more time. Everything you have given to the world … the legends and heroes you have shown us … will live on forever.
He concluded that his friend’s death made him realize that “time is running out with the people we love and admire”, and vowed to devote the rest of his life to living like him – “with grace, courage and without regrets ”.
Earlier, fellow Black Panther star Winston Duke wrote that he was “absolutely devastated” by the loss of “my friend and hero”.
Harrison Ford also paid tribute, saying, “Chadwick Boseman was as compelling, powerful and honest as the characters he chose to play.
“His intelligence, personal dignity and deep commitment inspired his colleagues and enhanced the stories he told. He is as much of a hero as anyone he has played. He is loved and will be sadly missed. “
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