Chadwick Boseman Mixes Movie Star Power with Real-Life Composure and Dignity

The lead of "42" and "Black Panther" sets an example of moral character off the screen as well.

Chadwick Boseman (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)
Chadwick Boseman (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

In a new profile, the New York Times explores the real-life leadership and dignity of rising  star Chadwick Boseman. Though he had played the leading role in several other biopic movies prior to this year, Boseman’s dynamic portrayal of T’Challa, the superhero in Marvel’s blockbuster 2018 release Black Panther, cemented his place in the Hollywood firmament.

But it seems it’s no coincidence that Boseman, who has portrayed iconic black male figures such as Jackie Robinson (42, 2013), James Brown (Get on Up, 2014), and Thurgood Marshall (Thurgood, 2017), possesses many of the same qualities of his onscreen characters. Boseman tells the Times he builds a kind of bridge to these larger-than-life roles through a process of normalizing his subjects to better understand them.

“His method of humanizing superhumans begins with searching their pasts. He’s looking for gestational wounds, personal failures, private fears—fissures where the molten ore of experience might harden into steel,” the Times writes.

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that the 41-year-old South Carolina native is blessed with chiseled, movie-star good looks and has developed a dogged work ethic and relentless hustle gained through years of scrambling for small roles and writing plays in the New York acting scene. All this paid off once he made the move to L.A.—within two years of switching coasts, he had landed the starring role in 42.

Now, with two new big projects coming out—17 Bridges, a New York City police drama and Expatriate, a spy thriller—and the inevitable sequel to Black Panther on the way, the world is finally getting to see the full A-list star wattage as well as off-screen intelligence and coolness of Boseman.

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