Chadwick Boseman broke down in tears and could not stop sobbing during a scene in the last movie he appeared in before his death. The actor had secretly been fighting cancer when production of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was taking place in 2019 and he was overcome with emotion during a scene in which his character, Levee, angrily challenges the faith of Colman Domingo’s character, Cutler. Film director George C. Wolfe opened up about the incident in an interview published Monday in the Wall Street Journal.
“We were doing it in a very casual way, and I assumed that when Levee got to the big speech that Chadwick was going to stop. But he didn’t stop,” Wolfe said. “He kept going, and Levee took over — it was raw and explosive. Afterwards, Chadwick just started to sob, and Colman hugged him, and then Chadwick’s girlfriend [Simone Ledward] basically picked him up.”
Boseman and Ledward were engaged in October 2019 and later married in a low-key wedding at an unspecified date. Boseman then passed away on Aug. 28 at age 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He did not speak publicly about the diagnosis and only a handful of friends and family members were aware of the illness.
“Chadwick did not want to have people fuss over him,” longtime agent Michael Greene said of Boseman’s decision to keep his cancer under wraps, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “He was a very private person.”
Boseman’s trainer Addison Henderson added that the actor was determined not to let the illness interfere with his work.
“For us, it was just like, ‘Let’s keep going, let’s keep doing what you want to do, let’s keep training.'” he said. “And then, me and [Boseman’s producing partner] Logan [Coles] and his family, his wife, we were always just here to support him.”