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Denzel Washington producing Netflix adaptation of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman


Netflix has tapped some all-star talent for its upcoming adaptation of August Wilson‘s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

The forthcoming film, which be produced by Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, will star fellow Oscar-winner Viola DavisChadwick Boseman, Emmy-winner Glynn TurmanColman Domingo, and Michael Potts.

Like the Broadway play, which first opened in 1984, the film will be set in Chicago in the 1920s.  It’ll focus on Ma Rainey, the real-life singer known as the “Mother of the Blues,” and her struggles with her white agent and producer, and her bandmates.

The original play, which was nominated in 1984, starred Theresa Merritt in the title role and featured John CarpenterLou CriscuoloScott Davenport-RichardsCharles S. DuttonLeonard Jacksonand Joe Senaca. The play was later revived in February 2003 with Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton reprising his role.

This is the not the first time Washington and Davis have teamed up for a revival of one of August Wilson’s plays. In 2010, Washington starred opposite Davis in the Broadway revival of Fences, which won both actors Tony Awards. Denzel directed the 2016 film adaptation, which won Davis the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Davis shared the news of the Netflix film on Instagram with a sweet quote from August Wilson, who died in 2005.

“The story’s been written,” she wrote, captioning the announcement. “All that’s left is the playing out.” 

Production on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will begin next month in Pittsburgh.


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