Born in South Carolina in 1977, Chadwick Boseman would go on to have a successful stage career as an actor, writer and director. In the mid-2000s, Boseman appeared on TV in various guest spots and landed reoccurring roles on the shows Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown. He was the lead in the indie film The Kill Hole, and was later cast as Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic 42.
Training and Stage Work
Actor Chadwick Boseman was born in 1977 in South Carolina, and went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in directing. He then attended the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.
Boseman has performed in a number of stage productions, including Breathe, Romeo and Juliet, Bootleg Blues, Zooman, and Willie's Cut and Shine. He won an AUDELCO award for his role as the teen E.J. in 2002's Urban Transitions: Loose Blossoms, a play by Ron Milner about a struggling African-American family pulled in by the temptation of fast cash. He's also worked as part of the Hip Hop Theatre Festival and has written the plays Hieroglyphic Graffiti, Deep Azure and Rhyme Deferred. Additionally, he has directed a number of stage productions, as well as the short film Blood Over a Broken Pawn.
Starring Roles on TV
Boseman started to make a name for himself on TV in the mid-2000s, with guest spots on crime dramas like Third Watch and CSI:NY, and on the soap opera All My Children. Additionally, he was one of the performers for the award-winning audio version of the 2005 novel Upstate, by Kalisha Buckhanon.
In 2008, Boseman landed a reoccurring role as Nathaniel Ray on the ABC Family drama Lincoln Heights, which focused on a suburban family who relocates to the urban community where the police officer patriarch was raised. The series ran for four seasons, with Boseman featured during the last two. During this period, he also had guest-starring roles on ER, Lie to Me, The Glades and Cold Case.
A Football Player and Sergeant
The year 2008 also saw Boseman appearing in Gary Fleder's The Express, a sports biopic about renowned running back Ernie Davis, who played for Syracuse University during the Civil Rights Movement. The film co-starred Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid, with Boseman featured as fellow running back Floyd Little.
Boseman would land his next prominent role as Graham McNair, a Muslim sergeant, on the 2010 NBC summer thriller Persons Unknown. On the series, seven people are kidnapped and trapped in a town by an unknown entity. The following year, Boseman landed additional guest spots on the shows Justified, Detroit 1-8-7, Fringe and Castle.
Playing Jackie Robinson
In 2012, Boseman played the lead role in the film The Kill Hole, directed by Mischa Webley. The indie production revolves around the life of a Portland, Oregon taxi driver who's also an Iraq War veteran, haunted by memories of his past and drafted for a new mission by a private firm.
Around the same time, Boseman won the lead role in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, which tells the story of the legendary baseball player, who broke racist barriers by becoming the first African American to play major league baseball. The film, written and directed by Brian Helgeland, and co-starring Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, was released in 2013.
"I'm overwhelmed by it," Boseman told online publication Madame Noire about his role as the baseball legend. "It's just a huge responsibility. I wake up every morning, been working and prepping on it, and I'm having the time of my life, playing baseball ... studying footage. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to just do what I love." Movie audiences seemed impressed with all of Boseman's hard work on the project--the film earned $95 million in its initial release.
Taking On James Brown
After his starring role in 42, Boseman's career continued to take off. He was named the Male Star of Tomorrow by the National Association of Theater Owners in February 2014. Boseman then appeared in the 2014 football film Draft Day with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. Around this time, Boseman also worked on another high-profile project. He signed on to portray music legend James Brown in Get on Up, a story that producer Brian Grazer had spent years trying to bring it to the big screen. He was finally able to get the movie going with help from Mick Jagger.
Directed by Tate Taylor, Get on Up follows Brown through his personal struggles and successes. Boseman had to master the fast and furious footwork that the Godfather of Soul was famous for in the film. According to an interview with Moviefone.com, becoming James Brown was "a huge challenge" but also "a very intense and rewarding experience." Get on Up is set for an August 2014 release. Taking a break from real life, Boseman will appear as the Egyptian god Thoth in the upcoming adventure fantasy Gods of Egypt.
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