Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Chadwick Boseman VS The Black Panther

It was reported this past week that Chadwick Boseman with the premiere of Disney + and many characters from the MCU adding their voice or acting talents to original programming there that he did not want any part of that.  See article below

No thanks Disney Plus for Chadwick

And you can see why that would be the case.  Chadwick is 42 years old and with the global and cultural impact that Black Panther made, its not a far stretch to say he could easily be type cast as T'Challa for the rest of his career.  That is something he clearly doesn't want and you could tell, as time went on, that he really did not want to do or say Wakanda Forever again for a very long time.

Wakanda Whatever

And who could blame him really.  Chadwick is a classically trained actor from Howard University and trained classically at Oxford.  He worked himself up from soap operas, to tv actor,  to leading man in an industry that is not overtly friendly to Black leading men.   He has done that work and even has a movie coming out here shortly where he is the lead.  Plus he does not have to look far to see what can happen when you become iconic for being a star in the MCU and its impact on your ability to get other work.

Robert Downey Jr's renaissance came with Tony Stark back in 2008 and he bounced that into some successful movies like Due Date, Tropic Thunder, and Sherlock Holmes.  But since 2011, RDJ has not done much of anything that is not Tony Stark. He as occupied and become Tony Stark and, as talented as he is, the public may only see and accept him as Tony Stark.  We will get to see if the public still sees him as an actor when Doolittle comes out next year.

Opposite of RDJ, is Chris Evans, who really didn't have much of a movie career as a leading man before he became Steve Rodgers in 2011.  He had supporting roles in many movies, including an scene stealing role in Scott Pilgrim and of course as Johnny Storm in two bad Fantastic Four movies.  Since becoming Cap, he has starred in a couple of independent movies and the leads in a couple others but nothing that would make you suggest that he is going to be a Hollywood leading man-outside of being Steve Rogers. Let's see out Knives Out does at the box office.

And that is the dilemma for Chadwick.  Yes, these Marvel movies help pay the bills so you can take on other roles in smaller movies or up your profile for bigger movies, but will the public accept you as someone that is not T'Challa, or Tony Stark, or Steve Rogers?  The history of nerd culture movies and tv shows that its very hard to break out of that typecast.  Harrison Ford comes to mind as the most successful as he was able to get past being both Han Solo and Indiana Jones to have a very successful movie career.  But the star of those Star Wars movies, Mark Hamill had a hard time living down Luke Skywalker. Many cultural phenomenon characters never live past being THAT character and its amplified even more if the character is Black.  Jimmy Walker and Gary Coleman never lived down JJ Walker or Arnold Drummond and years later the same thing happened to Jaleel White never being able to get past Urkel.

This is not to say that those actors are as talented as Chadwick Boseman, but becoming a character who is a cultural icon comes at a price to your continued career outside of that character.  I think that is what Chadwick is trying to avoid no matter how grateful he is to the opportunities Black Panther has created.

I truly hope 21 Bridges is successful for Chadwick.  He truly is an amazing actor and could be the Denzel for this generation of Black actors.  Hopefully people will support him in his non T'Challa roles or we are gonna be stuck with Sad Chadwick for a very long time.

The Producer

Wednesday, November 13, 2019