(Disney’s grand gesture — showing “Black Panther on ABC, commercial free, as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman — has ended now, but plenty of other Boseman films are available. Here’s the story I posted Saturday and updated Sunday.)
The flow of tributes to the late Chadwick Boseman (shown here in his James Brown portrayal) now includes an unprecedented one:
At 8 p.m. today (Sunday, Aug. 30), ABC will show his “Black Panther” movie commercial-free. That will be followed by a special – “Chadwick Boseman — Tribute For a King” – from 10:20 to 11 p.m.
Boseman played the king of a fictional African land in “Black Panther,” but he also played real-life heroes – Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall – and music superstar Brown.
He had a six-year stretch of great movie roles. Now we learn that for four of those years, he was fighting colon cancer.
He died at 43 on Friday (Aug. 28), which happened to be Jackie Robinson Day for Major League Baseball. In the days ahead, viewers can catch his work on TV and via streaming.
Boseman, who wrote and directed his first play as a high school senior in South Carolina, had intended to direct theater. He majored in directing at Howard University, where his mentor (Phylicia Rashad) and her friends (including Denzel Washington) helped him do a summer program at Oxford.
But his career soared as an actor, starting on TV with lots of guest roles and two ongoing ones. In a season of “Lincoln Heights,” he was an Iraq veteran, the son the main character hadn’t known. In “Persons Unknown,” he was a Marine sergeant, one of several strangers confined to a mysterious hotel.
Then came two sports films, “Draft Day” and “42,” and fame. Here’s a round-up of his movies, starting with the ones coming soonest to TV:
– “Black Panther” (2018) helped break the too-long tradition that big-budget adventures needed white male stars. That started to crumble a year earlier, when “Wonder Woman” made $403 million domestically (U.S. and Canada) and $822 million worldwide. It shattered when “Black Panther” made $700 million domestically and $1.35 billion worldwide. That put it No. 2 for the season, trailing only “Avengers: Infinity War” … which Boseman also was in.
SEE IT: ABC set a special showing for Aug. 30; TBS did the same for Aug. 29 and 30; TBS had previously scheduled it for 7 and 10 p.m. Sept. 6.
– “Draft Day” (2013) arms Kevin Costner with the No. 1 pick in the pro-fotball draft. Will he take a cocky quarterback, as expected, or an earnest linebacker (Boseman)? Parts of the story – including Costner’s first decision – are wildly improbable, but it’s a well-acted and interesting film.
SEE IT: 8 p.m. Sept. 7, Fox.
– “Get On Up” (2014) catches the rich variety of James Brown’s life, from jailed teen-ager to music superstar, from good guy to bad friend. For Boseman, who tended toward subtle characters, it was a rare chance to go big, complete with dancing and, occasionally, singing.
SEE IT: 10:35 a.m. Sept. 9, HBO2; it also aired Aug. 30 morning on HBO..
– Streaming: Boseman made two films for Netflix. Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” is available now; he plays one of the soldiers in Vietnam, past and present. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” based on the August Wilson play, finished filming a year ago and is expected this year. Also, Disney+ is the place to look for Boseman’s other Marvel films – “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Avengers: Infinity Game” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).
– Also: Keep an eye out for “Marshall” (2017) – in some ways the greatest hero of all. Long before Thurgood Marshall won historic cases (including the one that helped end school segregation) … and longer before he became the first Black Supreme Court justice … he was an NAACP lawyer, taking on difficult cases. In this one, he’s in Connecticut, defending a chauffeur accused of raping his employer. Boseman give a subtly perfect performance in a deeply involving film.in a deeply involving film.