Anthony Mackie says it would be "too emotional of a process" to watch his friend and Avengers co-star Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the musical drama posthumously released last month on Netflix. The 43-year-old Black Panther star, who died in August following a private four-year battle with colon cancer, starred opposite Mackie in 2016's Captain America: Civil War and Avengers sequels Infinity War and Endgame. Now Mackie, who starred in the Broadway version of playwright August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, is giving himself time before watching Boseman in his final film performance that could earn the acclaimed actor a posthumous Oscar nomination.
"I met Chad in '98, '99, so I've known him, I knew him for a long time. What was great about Chad… unlike everybody else today, Chad kept his circle close to his vest. He kept his world very private," Mackie told Extra TV while promoting his own Netflix movie, Outside the Wire, with co-star Damson Idris. "That's one thing, one of the things, that we had in common."
"Our time at work was our time at work, but our time at home was our time at home, and we didn't allow the two to cross because that's what keeps you grounded. That's what you know if you look at the relationship he had with his wife, you look at the relationship he had with his family," Mackie continued. "You know, Chad and I, we were country boys… You come home and, you know, your mama make them collard greens and cornbread, ya know? She makes them smothered turkey wings, some potato salad. That's home."
On Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, where Boseman stars as trumpeter Levee Green opposite Viola Davis, Mackie said, "I haven't seen it yet. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom holds a very special place, with the relationship to that… and my relationship to Chad, I haven't been able to pull myself to the point, emotionally, to be able to sit and take that experience in, because I wouldn't be able to watch it for the performance and the art. It would just be too emotional of a process for me."
In December, Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige confirmed Boseman recorded "numerous episodes" as T'Challa in What If...?, the studio's first animated series releasing this summer on Disney+. Marvel previously announced they would not recast Boseman's role as the Wakandan king in Black Panther II, the feature film sequel from returning writer-director Ryan Coogler.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Outside the Wire are now streaming on Netflix.