Goodness knows how Chadwick Boseman felt going back to audition for a Marvel movie.
He’d been knocked back for a part in Iron Man 3, and failed to land the role of Drax the Destroyer in space-travel epic Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Boseman walked into the third audition though with the same gravitas he brought to every role.
It would prove to be third time lucky. He was cast as King T’Challa of Wakanda – better known as Black Panther – in one last-ditch try at a superhero movie.
Heartbreakingly, after inspiring millions of fans in the role, Chadwick died last week at only 43, following a private four-year battle with cancer.
Last week I heard from a Hollywood casting director who enthused about Chadwick’s commitment and care when he auditioned.
Marvel Cinematic Universe talent-spotter Sarah Halley Finn, who also helped resurrect Robert Downey Jnr’s career by casting him as Iron Man, said: “The thing about Chad is, he always came into the room with an outsize presence.
“He is one of these actors who has gravitas – which is a worn-out word in the industry, but it’s not something you can act or learn. It’s something that you have. It came from the depth of his humanity and his ability to connect with that and channel it as an actor.
“There was just a very strong presence that he carried with him. He read the part as if he were a king.”
Chadwick made the role his own – and the number of black celebrities who paid glowing tribute in the days after his death showed what an important figure he had become in more ways than one. His superhero character was smart, resourceful, rich, powerful and technologically advanced. But most importantly, Chadwick Boseman made being a superhero not just for white people. Chadwick Boseman was groundbreaking.
In very moving news, it emerged that the actor, who also starred as soul legend James Brown in Get On Up and won acclaim for his performance as baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42, married his longtime partner, Taylor Simone Ledward, in the months before his death.
The couple’s relationship dated to before Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, and the two got engaged last year. His family confirmed that he and Ledward had tied the knot in a statement last weekend confirming his death.
“He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side,” the statement revealed.
For Sarah, Chadwick’s commitment shone through.
“Something else that I saw in Chad was intense preparation,” she added. “There’s nothing haphazard about the way he approaches his work. He’s all in.
“I had seen that from the time he was just starting out as an actor, all the way through the incredible way he threw himself into the Panther role.”
RIP, King Chadwick.
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