• Ryan Coogler paid tribute to his close friend Chadwick Boseman  
  • Coogler revealed that he got to know about Boseman’s illness only recently
  • Boseman died at the age of 43 due to colon cancer

“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler penned an emotional tribute to his close friend and actor Chadwick Boseman who passed away at the age of 43 due to colon cancer.

In a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, the 34-year-old filmmaker revealed that he decided to make the “Black Panther” movie only after seeing Boseman’s performance as T’challa in “Captain America: Civil War.”

He also noted that Boseman and John Kani, one of the greatest South African film personalities who played the role of his father, learned a new language “Xhosa” on the set and decided to film a scene for “Civil War” while speaking it.

Coogler said that he was in awe of Boseman’s capacity as an actor.

“I inherited Marvel and the Russo Brothers’ casting choice of T’Challa. It is something that I will forever be grateful for. The first time I saw Chad’s performance as T’Challa, it was in an unfinished cut of ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR’. I was deciding whether or not directing ‘BLACK PANTHER’ was the right choice for me. I’ll never forget, sitting in an editorial suite on the Disney Lot and watching his scenes. His first with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, then, with the South African cinema titan, John Kani as T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make this movie,” THR quoted Coogler, as saying.

In my meeting after watching the film, I asked Nate Moore, one of the producers of the film, about the language. “Did you guys make it up?” Nate replied, “that’s Xhosa, John Kani’s native language. He and Chad decided to do the scene like that on set, and we rolled with it.” I thought to myself. “He just learned lines in another language, that day?” I couldn’t conceive how difficult that must have been, and even though I hadn’t met Chad, I was already in awe of his capacity as an actor,” he added.

The filmmaker also noted that he did not know about the star’s illness and only found out about it after Boseman’s family released the statement. He described the actor as an “epic firework display.”

Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn't privy to the details of his illness. After his family released their statement, I realised that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display,” Coogler said in the statement.

Coogler concluded his tribute by saying that he feels “broke” following the actor’s death and described him as an “ancestor” who will “watch over” all of us.

“But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again,” Coogler concluded his statement.

Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Ryan Coogler (L) and Chadwick Boseman at the 50th NAACP Image Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 30, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images