Spike Lee is paying tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
While accepting the American Cinematheque Award Thursday night, the director, who worked with the late actor on “Da 5 Bloods”, spoke to Boseman’s talent and character.
The American Cinematheque ceremony celebrated Lee’s long and iconic career. Jodie Foster hosted the virtual event and presented Lee with the honour, becoming the 34th recipient of the prestigious award.
“The character in my film ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ Stormin’ Norman, the way his brothers view him as like almost mythical. As Clarke Peters’ character says, ‘He’s the world’s greatest soldier.’ They revered him,” Lee said. “And so you just can’t cast anybody for that, because the way these guys are describing him, he’s mythic. So mythic you’re talking about an actor who played Jackie Robinson; the Godfather, Soul Brother No. 1, James Brown; Thurgood Marshall; then the Black Panther.”
Boseman died in August after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Lee later touched on his own work, “You have to work on your craft no matter what it is — you have to work, you have to work, you have to work.”
“If you love what you are doing you can delay Father Time, so I have some more joints to make… At the very beginning, I wanted to build a body of work because I noticed the artists I admired kept building their body of work. It wasn’t just a one-and-done thing. Over the years they kept working on their craft. For me, that was the model.”
Ryan Coogler, who directed “Black Panther”, also spoke about the actor.
“I haven’t spoken about Chad publicly beyond writing some words but what I will say about Chadwick is that I love him. And I miss him,” Coogler said. “His talent was so potent that even though he was only with us for a limited amount of time, he gave us so much. He gave us an infinite amount of gifts even in that limited amount of time.”