“Get On Up” Stars Cover Ebony Magazine, Chadwick Boseman Explains Why He Didn’t Want To Play James Brown Initially

August 12, 2014  |  

Get On Up is likely to exceed your expectations. Chadwick Boseman so embodies the essence of James Brown that Brown’s only family members have said that they had to question who was on screen at certain points.  After delivering such a stellar performance alongside Nelsan Ellis, Jill Scott and Tika Sumpter, it was only right that Ebony Magazine feature a few of the movie’s stars on the cover of their September issue.

On the cover, Chadwick, Nelsan and Tika, donning the same style depicted in the biopic. And inside, they talked about their approach to the film and what they ultimately ended up taking from the experience.

Boseman told Ebony that initially he didn’t want the role.

“When my manager brought me the script, I didn’t even want to read it because I knew attempting to play James Brown would just be crazy.”

But once he received the part, beating out 20 other actors, he became dedicated to bringing the Godfather of Soul back to life on screen and took time to understand his personality and motivations in order to do so.

“He was a complicated man, both good and bad.  Once you understand the reasons for his dichotomy, it’s easier to grasp who he was.”

Boseman was so committed to the role, he actually made his fellow actors step their game up. Nelsan Ellis, who plays Brown’s longtime friend Bobby Byrd and is best known for his role as Lafayette on HBO’s hit series “True Blood,” told Ebony: 

“I thought, ‘If I’m going to act opposite [Chad], I’ll need to prove myself worthy. You’ll see some of the best acting I’ve ever done on this last season of “True Blood” and I owe that to Chad. I don’t know what people’s reactions will be, but I do want them to see a different side of my acting in this film.”

And Tika Sumpter, who has a minor role in the movie, says she values the experience more than anything.

I wouldn’t take this time back at all.  The talent here elevated my own and has done nothing but push me forward. For me, it’s not always just about the work; it’s also about the connection.”

An increasingly rising star in this business, Tika knows the importance of seizing the day in order to make moves in your career.

“Nowadays, you simply can’t wait for someone to give it to you. You have to create opportunities for yourself when nobody else will.”

The September issue of Ebony hits newsstands today, August 12.

 

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