Netflix has released a first look at its adaptation of August Wilson’s stageplay Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Viola Davis stars as the real life “Mother of the Blues” Gertrude Rainey alongside Chadwick Boseman in his final role as the enterprising trumpet player Levee. The film is based on the 1984 work written by Wilson, the award-winning playwright behind Fences and The Piano Lesson.

Set in 1927 Chicago, the story starts with Rainey as she arrives late to a recording session and greets a controlling white manager and an impatient band, who’s being fueled by Levee’s ambitions to unseat Rainey from her Blues throne.

What follows is a misogynistic and creative battle as Rainey fights for full control of her sonic legacy as the men around the Blues queen see her actions as symptoms of her Blackness and womanhood, instead of being associated with her talent.

IMa Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): Viola Davis as Ma Rainey. Cr. David Lee / Netflix

Tony award-winning director George C. Wolfe helms the screen adaptation for the streaming giant, who has released first look images (see below) with Davis and Boseman in their respective roles. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also stars Taylour Paige, who plays Rainey’s girlfriend Dussie Mae, alongside stage and film vets Colman Domingo and Glynn Turman. The film is produced by long time Wilson fan, Denzel Washington, who starred in Fences on stage and screen.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): (L to R) Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Colman Domingo as Cutler, Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Michael Potts as Slow Drag, and Glynn Turman as Toldeo. | David Lee / Netflix
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): (L to R) Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Director George C. Wolfe, and Chadwick Boseman as Levee. | David Lee / Netflix
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): (L to R) Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Glynn Turman as Toldeo, Michael Potts as Slow Drag, Colman Domingo as Cutler. | David Lee / Netflix

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premieres December 18 on Netflix.

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