“No matter how well you are doing, you are still trying to find what is the next thing” – Chadwick Boseman
After some well-received performances in films like 42 and Get on Up, Chadwick Boseman became something of a household name after playing Marvel superhero Black Panther — first in the film Captain America: Civil War, then in the $1.3 billion grossing Black Panther. Boseman participated in The Hollywood Reporter‘s Actors Roundtable and spoke about how his perception of acting has changed — and hasn’t changed — since his big success.
When it comes to acting, Boseman admits he didn’t see it a a realistic career at first because he didn’t know anyone who was a success at it. He recalls, “[For me] it wasn’t even a possibility. There was nobody — my brother actually was into the arts: He did musical theater, he danced, but other than him nobody around me saw that as a viable career. And even watching him, it’s not the same thing that I am doing. Because it’s not all the glitz and glamour people think it is. It’s really a blue-collar job. And you work overtime. You sweat. You get hurt. You are an athlete. You are everything that is necessary and you are pulling from things that most people don’t usually deal with. You are dealing with the intimate parts of your reality, political parts of your reality, social parts of your reality that most people don’t have to deal with on a day-to-day basis — race in a way people don’t have to deal with, gender in a way people don’t have to deal with. And you have to want to go through that struggle.”
With that in mind, Boseman points out that he’s always thinking about what his next role will be. He says, “No matter how well you are doing, you are still trying to find what is the next thing. And when this job is over you’re like, ‘Well, what’s the next one? What’s going to keep me going?’ It’s that same faith you had to have when people said, ‘You’re going to be an actor?’ And if you don’t have that from the beginning, you don’t necessarily have what it takes to do all the intricate moments.”
Since Boseman has performed in many films at this point, he’s learned to utilize his performance to its fullest so nothing gets lost in the final film. He explains, “A wise actor told me at one point, ‘You have to protect your performance’ — meaning that when you come to set, you trust the people around you, but there are certain things that only you know. And if you don’t protect those things, you are going to be the one kicking yourself later.”