While Chadwick Boseman was fighting colon cancer during the filming of Black Panther, he drew inspiration and motivation from a surprising source: two young boys who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. During a cast interview with SiriusXM in 2018, the star became overwhelmed as he spoke about this connection with the children, whom he cited by name, Ian and Taylor, and noted that they had recently died.
“Throughout our filming, I was communicating with them, knowing that they were both terminal,” Boseman says. “And what they said to me, and their parents said, they’re trying to hold on ’til this movie comes. And to a certain degree, you hear them say that and you’re like, ‘Wow, I gotta get up and go to the gym! I gotta get up and go to work. I gotta learn these lines, I gotta work on this accent.’ … It’s a humbling experience, because you’re like, ‘This can’t mean that much to them.’ Y’know? But seeing how the world has taken this on … I realized, that they anticipated something great.”
The actor adds that the boys’ enthusiasm for the movie “put me back in the mind of being a kid,” before breaking down as he acknowledges their passing.
In a statement released via his Twitter feed yesterday, Boseman’s family revealed that the 43-year-old actor had died after a very private four-year struggle with colon cancer, citing several titles that “were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.” They added, “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”