Chadwick Boseman once turned down a movie about slavery because he did not want to promote outdated or harmful Black stereotypes. Boseman’s long-time manager Michael Greene talked about the actor’s career in a new interview. In the unnamed slavery project, the actor was set to star alongside Tessa Thompson, but they both turned it down and ended up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok, respectively, though they both appear in Avengers: Endgame.
Michael Greene recalled receiving the script for the unnamed slavery project and presenting it to Chadwick Boseman. “I remember him and Tessa [Thompson] were offered a movie, it was about two slaves, and he was like, ‘I do not want to perpetuate slavery,'” says Greene. Boseman had zero interest in the project and no intention of reading the script. Greene continues, “It was like, ‘We’re not going to keep perpetuating the stereotypes,’ and that’s why he wanted to show men of strength and character.”
Michael Greene went on and said, “It was always about bringing light. That’s why we never did really dark movies or movies that were just people shooting everybody and perpetuating darkness.” Chadwick Boseman wanted more than just make a quick buck and become a superstar. “He accomplished so much, and all while he was fighting the darkness, literally. Until the last couple of days of his life, he was fighting it,” says Greene. Boseman tragically passed away late last week after a private 4-year battle with cancer that not a lot of people outside of his family even knew about.
According to Michael Greene, Chadwick Boseman’s principals were there right from the start. In 2019, Boseman revealed that he had been fired from the popular soap opera All My Children because he didn’t want to perpetuate Black stereotypes. Greene says that the script for his second episode brought in some family details involving his father leaving and his mother being on crack. Greene remembers Boseman says, “‘I’m not playing those images,’ and he went into the writers room, and they fired him.” The actor’s work ethic and dedication was something that guided his life and career, ultimately bringing him some solid roles and praise from critics.
When Chadwick Boseman was offered the part singer/entertainer James Brown in Get On Up, he demanded that the producers let him audition. The part was his, all he had to do was say yes, but he wanted them to understand that he could do all of the dancing to ensure that they didn’t need a double to take care of that aspect. It’s that kind of care that has been talked about numerous times now from several of his collaborators. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler shared similar stories about working with Boseman and coming up with things on the fly, while keeping morale up on the set, even while he was secretly battling cancer. You can read more of Michael Greene’s words about Chadwick Boseman over at The Hollywood Reporter.