Filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s memories of late actor Chadwick Boseman still leave him with overwhelming emotions whenever he talks about the late actor.
The director got emotional as he recalled his last conversation with the ‘Black Panther’ star, reports aceshowbiz.com.
In the first episode of ‘Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast’, the filmmaker said he just finished writing the ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ script about T’Challa grieving the loss of time from the five-year “Avengers: Endgame” Blip when he reached out to Boseman.
“I just finished (the script). My last conversation with him was calling him asking him if he wanted to read it before I got notes from the studio. That was the last time we spoke,” he said.
“He passed maybe a couple of weeks after I finished.”
When the interviewer asked for details about Boseman’s response, Coogler took a moment to compose himself. In between what sounded like tears, he told host Ta-Nehisi Coates: “He was tired, bro…I could tell he was tired.”
“(Boseman) called me, and I could tell he was laying down when we were talking,” he continued.
“Simone (Boseman’s wife) was with him, and he kicked Simone out because he told her he didn’t want her to hear nothing that could get him in trouble with an NDA. And she didn’t want to leave him. So I could tell something was up.”
Coogler said the couple was in good spirits and “joking and laughing,” as he remembered Boseman talking about their upcoming wedding in South Carolina. “Then he said he didn’t want to read (the script) because he didn’t want to get in the way of whatever notes the studio might have. So he said he’d read it later,” Coogler recalled.
“But I found out later he was too tired to read anything.”
The 36-year-old revealed he and Denzel Washington, Boseman’s longtime friend and producer of his film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, had been trying to reach Boseman for days by the time he got Boseman on the phone.
Coogler said he went through denial when he learned the news of Boseman’s passing from his agent and manager just several weeks later. It wasn’t until a call to Washington and an unreturned text to Boseman that Coogler realised the reported death of his friend and leading man wasn’t a rumour or hoax.
“You know, you go through that denial. And with technology, I think it makes it kind of easier to deny things, you know? You think maybe it’s a hoax, ‘Let me text or call him.’ So I texted him,” Coogler said.
“And then I told Denzel to check and see if it’s a rumour. He called me back and said, ‘It’s not a rumour.’ Then my agents called back and said that the release had just been posted. So that was how I found out.”
Following Boseman’s passing, Coogler contemplated quitting the second film altogether, but he changed his mind after he began to replay his old memories of Boseman. He realised that the actor filmed the first movie while he was sick, which made some things, like Boseman having incredibly sad bays or taking a much longer time to warm back up from water scenes, make sudden sense.
“He was sick when I met him,” Coogler shared.
“But looking back on it, it’s like, my man was dying. It’s a shocking thing to realise, and it’s also a thing where it’s like ‘I can’t quit.’ If he did all that while he was going through that, this is just grief. So we gotta push through.”
Kevin Feige confirmed in December 2020 that the role of T’Challa would not be recast in the wake of Boseman’s death. The ‘Black Panther’ sequel is set to arrive in US theatres on November 11.