December 12, 2020
29 November 1976 – 28 August 2020
Chadwick Boseman remembered by Ruth E Carter
The Oscar-winning costume designer – who worked with the Actor on Black Panther – recalls a kind, self-assured man who would rather crack a joke than talk about his illnessAndrew Weatherall remembered by David HolmesRead the Observer’s obituaries of 2020 in fullIn 2015, I interviewed for the film Marshall, about the Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall in the 1940s, and they told me that Chadwick Boseman was playing the lead. I really loved his work in 42 [playing Jackie Robinson], and as James Brown in Get on Up, so I was excited to meet him. He walked in for his first fitting and I showed him images and black-and-white videos of people in the 40s doing the lindy hop and going out partying. He started doing some of his James Brown moves in the room, to get us into the mood – I was amazed at his dancing abilities. Thurgood Marshall would have had the tie and the pinstripe double-breasted suit and the pocket squares, so I put all of those things on Chadwick and he started to embody, maybe for the first time, what he was feeling about the character. It was wonderful to work with someone who wanted to connect costume to character like that.
He was a very thoughtful person, and quiet, but not necessarily reserved. Once you asked him a question, he was an open book, but he wasn’t volunteering the information, probably because he wanted to hear what you had to say. On the first day of filming on Marshall I found out that I would be designing for Black Panther, which meant we’d be working together again. I wondered if I should tell him, but I decided not to. Around two weeks before we finished, I finally told him, and he said: “Oh, I already knew.”
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