You’ve known him for Black Panther, but take a look at Chadwick Boseman’s Most Underrated Work.
The surprise news of Chadwick Boseman’s demise at age 43 has left his fans and fellow industry stars struggling to take the shock of a cosmic career cut short. The impact of an actor whose work illuminated Black history and culture has millions grieving for him.
It remains astonishing to us what Chadwick Boseman achieved while fighting a lethal colon cancer that he was diagnosed with 4 years ago. Not even the closest of Chadwick’s friends in the industry knew about the ailing condition he was in. He completed 7 films while battling the disease and went on to become a global star after his 2018 hit Black Panther earned $1.3 billion
The actor who would always be synonymous with the superhero role he played of Black Panther in 2018, started his career on television in the early 2000s. His debut film in 2013 cast him as the first black man to play in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson which received multiple nominations and awards. His movie Black Panther ruled box office after becoming the year’s highest-grossing film.
The South Carolina native actor gained a name for portraying the iconic roles of recognizable Black icons like Jackie Robinson (“42”), James Brown (“Get On Up”), and Thurgood Marshall (“Marshall”).
There’s no scarcity for the number of praiseworthy roles Boseman has done. We would like to illuminate you on what’s considered his most underrated movie, a biopic on the Godfather of Soul, James Brown called Get on Up.
Get on Up was directed by The Girl on the Train maker Tate Taylor. It narrates the story of funk music icon James Brown, played remarkably by Boseman. The film was released in August 2014 in which Chadwick embodied the persona and style of the music legend. The film revolved around Brown’s life from his difficult childhood to the height of his fame. Boseman was joined by a wonderful troupe and the movie won several nominations for the best ensemble, best actress, best sound editing, best soundtrack, outstanding motion picture, and of course, the best actor. The film featured Dan Aykroyd as Ben Bart, Viola Davis as Susie Brown, Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd, Craig Robinson as Maceo Parker, and Octavia Spencer as Aunt Honey.
Back around the release, the film was well acclaimed by the critics for Boseman’s stimulating performance. David Denby of the American weekly magazine The New Yorker even described his work as “startling and galvanic.” He added in his review of the film, “Onstage, in blue silk, and with abundant ascending hair, Boseman grabs the [mic], drops it, pulls it back by its cord, and swings into ‘I Feel Good.’ The beat is driving, insistent, even ferocious, but Boseman’s movements are liquid.”
A review of the film featured on Flick Feast by Katie Smith-Wong said of Get on Up, “This show ultimately belongs to Boseman. He captures the groove, soul, and even Brown’s incompressible speech, and his performance is electric. The film is entertaining, soulful, and Boseman puts in his finest performance to date.”
James Brown was not an easy character for Chadwick to nail down. It was challenging for him since he was never associated with dance or vocal training. Boseman however, welcomed the challenge and dedicated everything at the time to bring James Brown to life on-screen.
In an interview, he said “The dance training was extremely intense, It was five hours a day of official rehearsal, officially five days a week, but I would rehearse on the weekends and I would rehearse in addition to those five days. I would go home at night and sweat some more. We had two months of that and we started shooting.”
To give the role of James Brown the originality it deserved Boseman also worked with a vocal coach to help him tune his voicebox and the character’s genuineness. He said doing that aided him “not only with the singing aspect but also changing the shape of the vocal cords to speak as well,” he says of Brown’s unique voice. “It was a lot of work and a lot of research as well.”
Boseman’s acting prowess was applauded globally and was said to have the right moves, pompadour, funk, and swagger to play the abandoned, abused South Carolina kid who reinvented himself as a musical icon. It was Brown, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., who helped heal a nation by leaping to the stage to sing, “Say it loud/I’m black and I’m proud.”
Our condolences to the deceased star’s family and fans. May the star rest easy.
If you wish to watch Chadwick Boseman’s most underrated work, you can stream it on HBO Max or you can rent/buy on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes or Vudu.