As award season rolls on, Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has been racking up nomination after nomination. The film recently received two Golden Globe nominations, including a posthumous Best Actor nod for late actor Chadwick Boseman. Boseman’s performance of Levee has been praised by both critics and fans, but it also influenced the crew. In fact, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom's cinematographer recently spoke on how the late actor’s performance made the crew emotional.
As a testament to his moving performance in the Netflix film, Chadwick Boseman received a posthumous Golden Globe nomination. Boseman’s performance has been praised by critics and moviegoers alike, but his performance moved the film’s crew as well. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom cinematographer Tobias Schliessler recently spoke with The Wrap about witnessing Boseman’s last film performance. He recalled how emotional it was seeing the late actor become his character Levee, saying:
Oh, my God. Heartbroken. Heartbroken because, for me, watching him work was such an inspiration. There were times while making the movie that I cried as we were filming his performance, from behind my monitor, because it was so touching. And then to know what he went through with his illness. I didn’t know at the time. Can you imagine, to get yourself into the emotional space for those scenes? How exhausting that much have been for Chadwick.
Tobias Schliessler explained what it was like filming with Chadwick Boseman up until the last day. At the end of the shoot, he recalled a special moment he and Boseman shared on the last day. He went on,
It was interesting with Chadwick. As with Viola, he got so into his character that there was hardly any interaction between myself and him. There wasn’t much small talk. But then when we wrapped the movie, it was 3 o’clock in the morning and we did the last shot with him. I will always remember this. Everyone was giving handshakes and congratulating each other on finishing the film. And I see Chadwick is looking at me and he comes walking towards me and gives me a big hug. And he was mentioning, specifically, a few things I’d done that he liked. He was aware of everything all the time.
Tobias Schliessler’s words on Chadwick Boseman’s performance and personality on set proved how much the late actor put into his acting roles. But Boseman’s riveting performance not only scored him a Golden Globe nomination but SAG and NAACP nominations among others. Unfortunately, that would be his last major film appearance.
Tobias Schliessler’s experience with Chadwick Boseman on Ma Rainey wasn’t just a one-off. Many of his co-stars talk about being on set with him as he remained in high spirits. For instance, the film’s lead Viola Davis has spoken a few times about working with the late actor. She talked about him playing an African drum during their downtime, as well as the nickname she gave him while on set. If you want to witness Chadwick Boseman’s performance, you can watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix now.