Martin Freeman ‘couldn’t believe no one knew’ that ‘Black Panther’ co-star Chadwick Boseman had cancer

Martin Freeman (at the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere in London) reflects on Chadwick Boseman

Martin Freeman (at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever London premiere) reflects on the “appalling” death of Chadwick Boseman. (Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville)

Martin Freeman is still shocked that no one at Marvel knows his Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman was critically ill during filming, he says in a new interview about the action hero’s “terrifying” death from colon cancer.

“Losing him was horrible. It was appalling,” Freeman told Sky News of the Oscar-nominated actor’s death in August 2020.

Freeman, 51, called the late star an inspiration “because of what he achieved”. Boseman lived with cancer for the last four years of his life. During this time, the actor starred in Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, 21 bridges, Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Marvel What if?

“He was truly remarkable. I couldn’t believe no one knew about it,” the BAFTA winner explained. “I was like to people at Marvel, ‘Come on, you really need to know.'”

But no one was wiser.

“That’s when you leave – you can’t ever complain again. You can’t complain about… oh we waited a bit long or my tea is a bit cold, while people are capable of this act of superhuman courage,” Freeman said.

The British actor is the latest collaborator to talk about working with Boseman amid his battles with cancer. In January 2022, Denzel Washington spoke with Variety about the late star, calling him “a man among men.”

“He suffered quietly,” Washington told the outlet. “He made the movie, and nobody knew. I didn’t know. He never talked about it. He just did his job. I wondered if something was wrong because sometimes it seemed Weak or tired. We had no idea, and it was nobody’s business. Good for him, keep it to himself.

In September, Lupita Nyong’o opened up about the film star’s grief as the cast filmed its sequel, wakanda forever. “There was a lot of stillness, reflection, prayer and meditation to support me as emotionally, mentally and spiritually as possible,” Nyong’o told the New York Times.

“It was a unique experience to come back to this world without our leader. When you have a second movie, there’s a lot of expectation. But I think losing Chadwick kind of took all that away. I found myself having to radically accept that it was going to be different, and that showing up with as much openness as possible was key.”

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said Empire that Bosemen’s role as T’Challa will not be recast. The decision led to petitions from Marvel fans.

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