Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan go way back.
Years before the pair shared the screen together in Black Panther, the two actors played the same role on All My Children, albeit at different times.
In 2003, Boseman, who died on Friday after a private battle with colon cancer, was hired to play the role of Reggie Porter on the ABC soap opera. However, the actor was allegedly fired after speaking to producers about his concerns that the character, a teen gang member, represented a negative racial stereotype.
“When I got it, I was like, ‘This is not part of my manifesto. This is not part of what I want to do.’ ” the actor remarked in a joint interview with Jordan for the January 2019 issue of TheWrap’s Oscars magazine.
Although Boseman, who was 26 at the time, noted that he was hopeful he could make adjustments to the role, he claimed that while the producers did take “some” of his suggestions, they also replaced him with Jordan, who was then 16.
Jordan went on to share that, at the time, he wasn’t aware of how Boseman had a hand in changing the role, which he would continue to play for nearly three years.
“I’m younger than Chad, and I was coming into All My Children fresh off The Wire — wide open, still learning. I was playing this role not knowing that a lot of the things I was going through were because of what he’d already done for me,” he said.
“The work that we’re doing on Black Panther is hopefully doing the same thing for the next group of actors that are coming up, just like our predecessors opened up doors and made things easier for us,” Jordan added.
Reflecting on their enduring bond in a 2019 birthday post to Jordan, who has yet to break his silence on his friend’s death, Boseman wrote, “What a journey it’s been. Happy birthday, brother.”
Boseman died of colon cancer four years after his first diagnosis in 2016, his family announced in a statement on Friday.
"It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman," his family wrote in a statement. "A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.”
"It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side," the statement continued. "The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."
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