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 Viola Davis Strikes Gold In Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom/Netflix

Viola Davis Strikes Gold In Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom hits the platform and select theaters Friday. Critics and cast-mates agree that Viola Davis is riveting in the challenging role.

The film is based on famed playwright August Wilson’s 1982 play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It follows the life and story of the “Mother of Blues” from the 1920s who was known for her undeniable talent and the hurdles she faced in her career. Replicating Ma Rainey’s distinct mannerisms is difficult for any actress but Viola Davis encompassed the role perfectly.

“She’s a powerful individual. This woman is a beast,” Denzel Washington said when describing Davis. Washington is one of the producers on the film, personally asked by Wilson’s estate to take on the project. “She’s one of the greats of all time. It’s an honor for me to find roles that give all of us a chance to see how brilliant she is.”

Denzel’s right.

Viola Davis is certainly one of the greatest to ever grace the screen. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to witness her work in my lifetime.

Washington and Davis have each been a part of some of my favorite on-screen moments. The duo appeared in the 2016 adaptation of another August Wilson piece, Fences. Washington is working on releasing film adaptations of each of August Wilson’s plays in the American Century Cycle. Each of these 10 plays represents a different decade in the African American lifestlye. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom represents the 20s and takes us to Chicago, Illinois.

“I’m glad to be able to do that,” Washington shared on CBS Sunday Morning. “What’s left for me to do? Professionally? It’s a joy. It’s a privilege to shepherd this material,” the icon continued. He ensures that the workload of bringing Wilson’s plays to film is something that he enjoys doing.

Chadwick as ‘Levee’.

It’s an undescribable emotion to watch Chadwick Boseman in his last role before his death. The rising Hollywood superstar lost his battle with Colon Cancer this past summer but as expected, his work will live on forever.

Just like on other sets across Hollywood, Boseman’s talent was some of the best work man had ever seen. Everyone spoke of how much of it joy it was working with Chadwick and on the set of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the trend continued.

Like most others, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom director George C. Wolfe was unaware that Chad was sick. “He was thinner but I thought, you know, actors they fast, they do all these things,” says Wolfe. “I also thought he was shedding some of the Black Panther facade. And the leanness and that kind of leanness worked very well for Levee.”

Viola Davis shared that Chadwick Boseman would “fall asleep while standing up.”

Netflix has been doing well.

At least from the vantage point of a viewer.

The popular streaming company has released some great titles this year. I anticipate big things from Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as well. That’s why it doesn’t shock me that the company has seen success this year.

According to Statista, Netflix’s Quarter III 2020 numbers sit near $790 million. QIII 2019? $665 million.


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