Before taking over the box office as King T’Challa in Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman took on the challenging role of Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42.
In this #TBT clip, Boseman shares his thoughts on the sports icon, saying he was amazed to learn just how talented Robinson was, and how difficult it was for him to share his gifts.
“Baseball wasn’t his best sport. He was a better football player, a better basketball player, better at track & field, he even played tennis. …When he played in the Negro League, it was such a hard way of living. Going on and off buses, playing four games a day, you couldn’t stop for food, you couldn’t shower. It was a hard life, and they weren’t getting paid enough to be going through all that. It was surprising to me that he had so much greatness in him with no place to put it.”
Boseman also shared how it felt to be berated while playing the baseball great, revealing that though everyone was well aware they were on a film set, the sting of being called “n*gger” and “porch monkey,” still had a psychological impact.
“It’s embarrassing to a certain degree. At first, you’re bridging the gap between the past and the present because we use these words colloquially. We use them amongst each other in ways that we don’t necessarily use them around other people. It’s different when the context is you being berated or you being attacked with these words in a stadium and the intent is to hurt you.”
“Not only that, but it’s being expounded upon … it gets to a point where it starts to have it’s old meaning, it’s original meaning and it gets to you. You need to, at the end of that scene, step away from everybody and get back to a place where you can deal with people.”
Check out the clip above.