Playing James Brown, once known as the hardest working man in show business couldn’t have been easy. But actor Chadwick Boseman, who also portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42, was up for the challenge. In Get On Up, the Anderson, South Carolina native channels the Godfather of Soul, rendering the musical icon as a flawed human being who was anointed with greatness.
Listen to Tom Joyner’s James Brown story and the entire TJMS interview above.
Boseman, 32, had some guest starring roles on a number of popular TV shows, but in the last two years, his name recognition and career been on an accelerated upgrade. He says that although he did his homework playing Brown, Get On Up’s exceptional cast helped as well.
“It’s a great, great cast,” he told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “Yeah, you’ll see me, but you’ll see Jill Scott, Dan Ackroyd, you’ll see Nelsan Ellis, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer; it’s a fun thing to see. And because it’s a non-linear story, it’s one of those movies you watch more than one time.”
Director Tate Taylor, who also directed The Help chose to tell the story of Brown’s life in the different phases the public recognized him by – as The Godfather of Soul, Soul Brother #1 and Mr. Dynamite, among others.
Get on Up delves into Brown’s impoverished upbringing and the abandonment of both his parents as well as the musical talent he had even as a small child.
Boseman, a Howard University graduate, says he had to do a lot of preparation for the role, even staying in character during his downtime on set.
“It was just lacing up the leather shoes and dancing and watching footage and watching him as much as I could and reading – everybody’s got a James Brown story, so….,” Boseman said. While he didn’t take his character home, on set he stayed in the role.
“Everybody enjoyed that – I think the set enjoyed that more than I did.”
Despite how good he is in the movie, Boseman say he’d never say he got Brown down completely.
“I don’t think you ever say that. The man was a genius. I was constantly trying to catch up to him, constantly studying him and trying to find new things. I have it, no, I had too much respect for him to even think that. As far as feeling him and him showing up in dreams, he definitely did that.”
Hopefully, Brown’s review was a good one.