Hollywood 2020: Ryan Coogler Pays Tribute to Chadwick Boseman–What an Incredible Mark He’s Left for Us

Ryan Coogler Pays Tribute to Chadwick Boseman: ‘What an Incredible Mark He’s Left for Us’

Chadwick Boseman Dead Variety Portrait

Director Ryan Coogler published an emotional tribute to Chadwick Boseman, his Black  Panther star, who died Fridat at the young age of 43, after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

In a statement made Sunday morning, Coogler mourned the loss of someone he calls “a special person” who has left an “incredible mark.” Boseman had never spoken publicly about his diagnosis, and Coogler noted that the actor “deeply valued privacy.”

“I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness,” Coogler wrote. “After his family released their statement, I realized 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. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.”

“I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly,” Coogler wrote. “He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.”

After the stunning box office success of “Black Panther,” the two were expected to reunite on a sequel due in 2022. Coogler said, “I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.”

Read the statement in its entirety below:

Before sharing my thoughts on the passing of the great Chadwick Boseman, I first offer my condolences to his family who meant so very much to him. To his wife, Simone, especially.

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. After Scarlett’s character leaves them, Chad and John began conversing in a language I had never heard before. It sounded familiar, full of the same clicks and smacks that young Black children would make in the States. The same clicks that we would often be chided for being disrespectful or improper. But, it had a musicality to it that felt ancient, powerful, and African.