Netflix has released a first look at what has become Chadwick Boseman‘s final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
The film is an adaptation of August Wilson‘s award-winning play of the same name, which debuted at Broadway’s Cort Theatre in October 1984. It played 276 performances before closing the following year.
It stars Academy Award winner Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder) as the legendary Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, otherwise known as the “Mother of the Blues”.
The film is set in 1920s Chicago as tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session.
“Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her White manager and producer over control of her music,” the synopsis reads.
“As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee (Boseman) – who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry – spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.”
The film also stars Glynn Turman (A Raisin in the Sun) and Colman Domingo (If Beale Street Could Talk), and was directed by Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe. Denzel Washington (Fences) served as producer.
Netflix shared three stills from the upcoming film and a behind the scenes look.
Chadwick Boseman as Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom / Netflix
Viola Davis as Ma Rainey / Netflix
Get your first look at Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, and Colman Domingo in the stunning “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” based on the acclaimed play by August Wilson + directed by the legendary George C. Wolfe. @MaRaineyFilm comes to @Netflix GLOBALLY December 18! pic.twitter.com/CATT9Uykr4
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) September 30, 2020
Boseman, best known for his beloved role in Black Panther, passed away in late August after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
In an interview with the New York Times about Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Davis said Boseman’s character Levee represents so many Black men living in America.
“What we’re constantly navigating on a day-to-day basis is the trauma of our past – we’re trying to heal from it, we’re even trying to understand that it’s there, and we’re negotiating that with our dreams and who we want to become.”
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premieres on Netflix, December 18.
Netflix hasn’t released a trailer just yet, but we’ll keep you updated.