The first images for the anticipated Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on August Wilson’s play, have dropped. From the looks of it, with Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis as the queer blues legend Ma Rainey and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman in his final role as the horn player Levee, the film is going to take streaming by storm when it’s released in December.
The official synopsis for the film reads:
“Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary 'Mother of the Blues,' Ma Rainey. Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious horn player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.”
Helmed by acclaimed theater director George C. Wolfe (Lackawanna Blues, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack), the film costars Hit the Floor’s Taylour Paige as Rainey’s girlfriend Dussie Mae.
While the film is based on the real-life Rainey, it is a work of fiction that explores the Great Migration when Black people left the South for the North, according to a fact sheet from Netflix.
Rainey was renowned for her sexually free songs that include the bisexual anthem "Prove It on Me Blues."
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues) wrote the screenplay for the movie that also stars Michael Potts, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Dusan Brown, Johnny Coyne, Jeremy Ramos, and Joshua Harto.