John Kani pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman
The entertainment industry is in shock after the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman. Boseman died at his home after a long battle with colon cancer. South African actor, author and director John Kani worked with Boseman, playing his father T'Chaka in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Black Panther (2018).
Kani says that the death of Boseman is unbelievable. He recalls being very impressed by Boseman when he first met him on the set of Captain America: Civil War. Boseman greeted Kani in Xhosa as learned a few phrases while filming a movie in Cape Town.
I was really impressed with him. And immediately he went to introduce me to the rest of the crew, and that was the beginning of a father-son relationship.John Kani
One thing that struck Kani whilst working on Black Panther was the responsibility Boseman felt in portraying the titular character in the best way possible. As the first stand-alone black superhero film, Boseman was aware that they were making history for black professionals in the film industry and the way in which Hollywood represents black people and the African continent.
Kani adds that he was conscious of the fact that he was representing African dignity.
He felt very passionate about 'Black Panther' as an African moment, that African Americans should take is as seriously as hell.John Kani
Chadwick would say, if we drop this one, this is the last time we will get this kind of opportunity.John Kani
One of the most moving moments for me was, we were standing there, and he comes over to me as the Black Panther and he said: 'Baba are you happy with me?' I said 'yes, what do you mean'. He said: 'They way I am representing Africa in this movie?" I said 'yes indeed. Absolutely'.John Kani
Kani says the last time he saw Boseman in an interview, he noticed he lost a lot of weight. Kani assumed that the weight loss was due to a role he may be preparing for, but then he heard rumours about Boseman's cancer diagnoses.
Kani's son, who resides in New York, was the one to break the news of Boseman's death to him. He says that the news shook him, despite the mutterings of Boseman's battle with cancer.
Kani says that Boseman was one of the few people he has worked with that became a friend.
You do movies and you move on. I have done over 40 movies. I am not in touch with most of those people, expect very few people will remain in touch. They become distant friends, and it was exactly the same with Chadwick.John Kani
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