Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Watch Viola Davis And Chadwick Boseman In First Trailer

Netflix has revealed the first official trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a 1920s blues movie from filmmaker George C. Wolfe and starring the late, great Chadwick Boseman and the always magnificent Viola Davis.

Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman), and the white management determined to control the legendary “Mother of the Blues.” Adapted from August Wilson’s play of the same name, the excellent cast also includes Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Glynn Turman, Dusan Brown, and Taylour Paige. 

Check out the tremendous trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom below:

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom marks Boseman’s last screen appearance after succumbing to his fight with colon cancer on August 28, 2020. A fitting sendoff and one that distributor Netflix is taking to heart. Netflix has confirmed that it will campaign the late Chadwick Boseman in the lead actor category for his role in the upcoming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at this year’s Academy Awards. There has only been one film in Oscar history to manage more than two Black acting nominations from a film: 1985’s The Color Purple, and it’s looking like both Boseman and Davis are heading that way. Boseman also starred in director Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods earlier this summer and will likely also have his work in that film being considered in the best supporting actor category. If nominated for best actor, Boseman would be the first posthumous nominee in the category since Massimo Troisi for 1995’s Il Postino. If nominated in supporting, he would be just the third person in Oscar history following Ralph Richardson (1984’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes) and Oscar-winner Heath Ledger for his performance as The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

During a virtual press conference for the film, Viola Davis spoke a little about Boseman. Davis, who played his mother in the James Brown biopic Get On Up, felt a definite closeness to him beyond most co-stars she has had. “Not to compete with Chadwick’s mother, but he was my baby,” she said. “Chadwick was an artist. That is just what he was… he loved it, he demanded it in every single way. For someone so young it was incredible to watch.”

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is directed by Emmy-nominated American filmmaker George C. Wolfe, director of the films Nights in Rodanthe and You’re Not You previously, as well as lots of TV work including The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The screenplay is written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson; based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play of the same name – first performance in 1982. The film is produced by Denzel Washington (who previously adapted one of Wilson’s most famous plays into a successful feature film, Fences) and Todd Black. 

You can catch a glimpse of the film’s poster, which showcases its two powerhouse leads front-and-center, below:

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Netflix releases Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in select theaters in November, then debuts streaming starting on December 18th.

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