Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death from colon cancer last week at 43 years old left people around the world expressing sadness, and some of his former co-stars have been the most poignant in speaking out about the loss.
Veteran actor Clarke Peters, who worked with Boseman on Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” is one of the actors who talked about Boseman’s death. He did it during an interview with “Good Morning Britain” that was posted on YouTube on Monday, Aug. 31.
Peters first talked about the countless number of Black children that Boseman will inspire by playing T’Challa in “Black Panther.” He then admitted that he had the wrong impression of him while working on “Da 5 Bloods” in Thailand, with many of their scenes shot in March 2019.
Clarke Peters (left) broke down after talking about his initial impression of Chadwick Boseman (right). (Photo: @chadwickboseman/Twitter)
Boseman battled colon cancer for four years before succumbing to it on Friday, Aug. 28, and he never revealed his diagnosis to the public or, apparently, any colleagues.
“When I look back at that time, I have to say with a little bit of regret that I probably wasn’t the most altruistic in that environment,” Peters admitted around the 3:52 mark of the interview. “But hindsight teaches us a lot of things. And what I’m addressing is basically, my wife asked what Chadwick was like, and I was really excited to work with him. I said, ‘Well, I think he’s a little bit precious,’ and she said why”’?
“I said ‘because he’s surrounded by people who are fawning over him,’” he continued. “He’s got a Chinese practitioner who’s massaging his back when he walks off-set. He’s got a makeup lady who’s massaging his feet. His girlfriend is there, holding his hand, and I’m thinking, ‘Well, maybe the ‘Black Panther’ thing went to his head.’ But now, I have to … I regret even having those thoughts because they were really looking after him.”
Peters — whose own fame reached new heights with his portrayal of the police detective character Lester Freamon on the acclaimed HBO series “The Wire” — grew emotional when recalling what Boseman had to endure on the set of “Da 5 Bloods” as a cancer patient.
“Listen, we were in 104-degree weather, running with equipment up to 40 pounds on our backs going through the scenes and that young man,” he said. “I’m sorry —”
Peters then tilted his head back and held it as he sobbed, which made one of the hosts pick up the conversation.
Some of Boseman’s other co-stars have addressed his passing in recent days, including Letitia Wright, who like Peters, had no idea the late actor was ill. She co-starred with Boseman in “Black Panther,” playing the character Shuri.
“I messaged you a couple times, but I thought you were just busy,” said Wright in an Instagram video posted Tuesday, Sept. 1. “I didn’t know you were dealing with so much. But against all the odds, you remained focused on fulfilling your purpose with the time handed to you.”
Later in Peters’ interview, he was told how much Boseman admired and looked up to him. In June, Boseman shared a selfie of himself with Peters and wrote about how much he loved getting to work with him.
“The beauties of filming. Always wanted to be Wired with this guy,” Boseman tweeted.
“When I saw that …. you know, I’ve got an ego too, and to have a cat like that really be in your corner, I have to say feels exceedingly good,” Peters told the morning hosts. “I didn’t realize that he felt that way and that’s my blessing. That’s my blessing and I will accept that with gratitude, deeply.”
He continued. “I was looking forward to working with him myself. I really was. My kids and having seen ‘[Black Panther].’ Myself, I was moved just like you were moved, even at this ripe old age. To see a hero like that in an environment like that, with everything that that culture has to offer … I tell you, it was spiritually uplifting. Just fantastic.”