Chadwick Boseman never broke character while portraying James Brown in Get On Up, director Tate Taylor revealed.
Taylor wrote a tribute to the actor in Variety, bringing up his commitment to roles like the one he played in the James Brown biopic.
“He let himself go in his performance without any sense that people were watching him,” he wrote. “It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. He stayed in character not because that was his method, but because he became James Brown.”
“In the beginning, he would ask for many takes because he had just discovered something else that he needed to try,” he wrote. “In all seriousness, Chadwick explained to me that when he was acting in a scene, the real James Brown would talk to him from heaven. I would oblige him, and each take wasn’t better, but it would be completely different and equally as wonderful. I told him that we’d never finish the film under our limited time and budget. In character, he said, ‘Mr. Taylor, Mr. Brown needs to do it again.”
To oblige Boseman’s wishes to do multiple takes, Taylor devised a system in which Boseman could use a red card “to request one scene each day to do as many takes as needed.”
“With curlers in his wig, he turned to me in character and very sternly said, ‘Mr. Taylor, you gonna tell the Sex Machine he needs a card to do his thing?!’…I immediately worried that I had done wrong. Not by Chadwick but by Mr. Brown,” he wrote. “Then he burst out laughing and Chadwick threw his arms around me and said that it was a good idea.”
“…How I wish I could go to him now and give him the red card and say, ‘Please do it again,'” he wrote.
Photo credit: D Stevens/Universal Pictures