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Denzel Washington ‘wondered if something was wrong’ with Chadwick Boseman while directing him

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Denzel Washington is opening up about working with the late Chadwick Boseman, whom he directed in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in a new Variety cover story released on Thursday.

The 67-year-old icon revealed that, at the time, no one on set was aware that the late actor was suffering from cancer but Washington had ‘wondered if something was wrong.’

Chadwick sadly died of colon cancer on August 28, 2020, aged 43, following a quiet, four-year battle with the disease. 

Legend: Denzel Washington is opening up about working with the late Chadwick Boseman, whom he directed in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in a new Variety cover story released on Thursday

‘A man among men. He suffered quietly,’ Denzel told Variety of the late star.

Washington directed Boseman in the Viola Davis led Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Netflix. 

The Black Panther star won posthumous Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Awards for his role and was nominated for an Oscar.

‘He made the movie, and nobody knew. I didn’t know. He never said a peep about it,’ Denzel recalled. ‘He just did his job. I wondered if something was wrong because he seemed weak or tired sometimes. 

'A man among men. He suffered quietly,' Denzel told Variety of the late star. 'He made the movie, and nobody knew. I didn't know. He never said a peep about it. He just did his job. I wondered if something was wrong because he seemed weak or tired sometimes.'

‘A man among men. He suffered quietly,’ Denzel told Variety of the late star. ‘He made the movie, and nobody knew. I didn’t know. He never said a peep about it. He just did his job. I wondered if something was wrong because he seemed weak or tired sometimes.’

‘We had no idea, and it was nobody’s business. Good for him, keeping it to himself.’

Washington has been opting to direct rather than act in his later years and said in his interview that he was often forced in front of the camera in order to get the funds to make the film.

‘In fact, I never enjoyed headlining and directing,’ he revealed. ‘I acted in the movies because I needed to in order to get the money to direct them.’  

He added of his latest film, A Journal for Jordan: ‘So now, for me, this feels like the first film I’ve directed, because I’m not in it. That’s the way I prefer it.’  

'We had no idea, and it was nobody's business. Good for him, keeping it to himself,' Washington added of Boseman's quiet battle with cancer

‘We had no idea, and it was nobody’s business. Good for him, keeping it to himself,’ Washington added of Boseman’s quiet battle with cancer

The film, starring Michael B. Jordan, is inspired by the true story of First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who was killed in Iraq in 2006, leaving his partner Dana Canedy to raise their young son Jordan on her own. 

Canedy, a former New York Times journalist and a Pulitzer Prize winner, originally wrote about a journal that her late fiancé prepared for their son during his time in Iraq for her newspaper, before expanding it into a 2008 book, which served as the basis for the new film. 

While speaking with Religion News, Washington admitted that he would gather his cast and crew in prayer before starting to film for the day.

A loss: Chadwick sadly died of colon cancer on August 28, 2020, aged 43, following a quiet, four-year battle with the disease (pictured in 2019)

A loss: Chadwick sadly died of colon cancer on August 28, 2020, aged 43, following a quiet, four-year battle with the disease (pictured in 2019)

‘The spirit of God is throughout the film. Charles is an angel,’ he said of the character played by Jordan. ‘I’m a believer. Dana’s a believer. So that was a part of every decision, hopefully, that I tried to make.

‘I wanted to please God, and I wanted to please Charles, and I wanted to please Dana,’ he added.  

The film was released Christmas Day in a limited number of theaters and will be followed by a streaming release on Apple TV+ on January 14. 

'In fact, I never enjoyed headlining and directing,' he also revealed in his interview. 'I acted in the movies because I needed to in order to get the money to direct them.'

‘In fact, I never enjoyed headlining and directing,’ he also revealed in his interview. ‘I acted in the movies because I needed to in order to get the money to direct them.’

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