Chadwick Boseman to be honored by Viola Davis, Denzel Washington in Netflix special

"You know you have to step up when you're in his presence."

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Netflix will pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman with an upcoming special featuring interviews with several of his Hollywood friends and collaborators, including Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, and Danai Gurira.

Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist is an exploration into “Boseman’s extraordinary commitment to his craft [and] an intimate look at the Oscar-nominated actor’s artistry and the acting process which informed his transformative performances,” per Uproxx. Those interviewed also include Phylicia Rashad, Taylour Paige, Branford Marsalis, Brian Helgeland, Reginald Hudlin, Aakomon “AJ” Jones, Woodie King Jr., Andile Nebulane, Tate Taylor, Glynn Turman, and George C. Wolfe.

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“You know you have to step up when you’re in his presence,” says Davis in the newly released trailer. “He’s looking at your work and he’s really hyperfocused, on the craft, on the process. That’s Chad.” Check out the trailer below.

The Oscar-winning actress starred opposite Boseman in his last film before his death, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which has earned him several posthumous awards this year, including a nomination for Best Actor at the 2021 Oscars. Boseman died on August 28 after a four-year private battle with colon cancer. In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment in December, Davis shared her reaction to the news of his death at age 43.

“I broke down when I heard he passed,” Davis said, theGRIO reported. “Lord knows we all would’ve wanted him to live another 50 years. We all want longevity. But I can’t see his life tragically at all … Because I felt like he was always living in the moment, squeezing out every bit of life. What it makes me think is, it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.”

“What I hold onto with Chad is that he lived his life his way,” Davis continued. “I would say his professional life has absolutely paralleled his personal life, that’s my guess, in terms of how he lived with the utmost integrity.”

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In an interview with The Guardian, Davis said she thinks Boseman will be remembered as a hero. “There’s a part of the public that’s going to associate that with Black Panther; I do not,” she said. “I associate that with his authenticity, especially in the midst of a profession that sometimes can suck that out of you.”

This image released by Netflix shows Michael Potts, from left, Chadwick Boseman and Colman Domingo in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” (David Lee/Netflix via AP)

“I think that his legacy, his body of work, his integrity, is going to have influence on generation upon generation to come,” Davis added.

Boseman continued to work while keeping his medical condition on the low. He reportedly completed Black Panther and Da 5 Bloods while undergoing chemotherapy and surgeries.

“I’m Chadwick Boseman. I’m an artist,” he says of himself in the trailer. “People call me an actor. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an actor. I would call myself an artist.”

Portrait of an Artist will premiere on Netflix on April 17 at 3 a.m. ET/midnight PT, and will only be available for 30-days.

*This story contains additional reporting from Renee G.

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