Chadwick Boseman Tearfully Spoke About Black Panther's Impact on 2 Boys with Terminal Cancer
Chadwick Boseman was profoundly moved by the impact Black Panther had on children, many of whom had never seen a superhero who looked like them before.
In an emotional clip from 2018, which resurfaced after the news that Boseman, 43, had died after a four-year battle with colon cancer, the actor teared up while discussing his conversation with two boys who had terminal cancer.
While doing press for the historic superhero movie in 2018, Boseman spoke about how “personal” it had been to watch the two boys respond to the film.
“There are two little kids, Ian and Taylor, who recently passed from cancer. Throughout filming, I was communicating with them knowing that they were both terminal,” he said in the interview with SiriusXM. “What they said to me, and what their parents said, [was] they’re trying to hold on til this movie comes.”
“To a certain degree, you hear them say that and you’re like, ‘Wow, I gotta get up and go to the gym, I gotta get up and go to work, I gotta learn these lines, I gotta work on this accent,’” Boseman said at the time, noting that he also felt a responsibility to his costars, knowing how “meaningful” the film was for them.
On a deeper level, Boseman added that it had been a “humbling experience” for him.
“You’re like, ‘This can’t mean that much to them,’ but seeing how the world has taken this on, seeing how the movement and how it’s taken on a life of its own, I realized that they anticipated something great,” he said. “And I think back now to a kid and just waiting for Christmas to come, waiting for my birthday to come, waiting for a toy that I was going to get a chance to experience or a video game. I did live life waiting for those moments, so it put me back in the mind of being a kid, just to experience those two little boys’ anticipation of this movie.”
Boseman went on to tear up as he began to speak about his reaction to the news of his death, pausing to gather himself. “It means a lot,” he said.
In addition to all of the loving tributes from those who had worked with Boseman over the years, many spoke about the how much Black Panther had meant to their children.
“I’m gonna have to tell Cy, Bowie and Zen that T’Challa has passed. What other king can I tell them about now?” wrote actress Zoë Saldana who appeared in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame with the actor.
“The way black panther showed so many black children that they could be the superhero his work really meant the world to us, thank you chadwick boseman for being our t’challa. rest in power king,” wrote another social media user in Tweet that has been shared and liked by thousands on the platform.
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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon also shared a sweet video on their social media account, in which Boseman surprised fans who had all been touched by the film.
“Thank you so much for making Black Panther. I can’t express how much it means to me and the community and my family. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for all that you’ve done. For being a hero that we really need in a time like this. Thank you so much,” said one fan, who thought he was just recording a message for Boseman until the actor came out to give him a hug.
“I cannot tell you how much it means to have you step into the role as our king and be holding it with such grace and poise and joy,” added another fan.
Another message shared by St. Jude's Children Research Hospital also noted how much "joy, courage and inspiration" the actor was able to give to children.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Chadwick Boseman. Two years ago, Chadwick visited the St. Jude campus and brought with him not only toys for our patients but also joy, courage and inspiration. He was an incredible role model for our patients and children from all around the world. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time," the hospital wrote in a statement.
The Black Panther star died of colon cancer four years after his first diagnosis in 2016, his family announced in a statement Friday night.
"It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman," his team wrote in a statement shared on the star's Instagram page. "Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV."
"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy."
Boseman's family added that his role has King T'Challa in Black Panther was "the honor of his career."