Watch Chadwick Boseman in a Scene From ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’


In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series on Fridays. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

A disagreement between musicians reaches a boiling point in this scene from “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Netflix film adaptation of August Wilson’s play.

Set in 1927, the film primarily follows the blues singer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) and her band during a challenging recording session in a Chicago studio. One of those challenges involves the tensions that arise between Ma and her headstrong horn player, Levee (Chadwick Boseman).

A conflict ignites when Levee doesn’t perform a song the way Ma requires. In this video, the director George C. Wolfe discusses how clashing personalities result in a catastrophic moment, and how he decided where a specific door, which plays a key part in the scene, would lead.

Read the “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” review.

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