It’s been a little over a month, and the world is still reeling from the death of Chadwick Boseman.
The actor died of colon cancer complications but decided to keep his diagnosis to himself after finding out in 2016. One of his last times gracing the screen was in Spike Lee‘s Netflix film Da 5 Bloods as Stormin’ Norman. Even though Lee didn’t know Boseman was sick, he understands why he decided to keep it a secret while filming.
The legendary director recently spoke to Variety about Boseman and remembers just how intense some filming days were given the humid weather and terrible air pollution that the crew was subject to inhaling — both things that would affect anyone and even more so Boseman, given his personal battle.
“He did not look well, but my mind never took that he had cancer,” Lee explained. “It was a very strenuous shoot. I mean, we all didn’t get to Vietnam until the end of the movie at Ho Chi Minh City. But that other stuff, the jungle stuff, was shot in Thailand. It was 100 degrees every day. It was also at that time the worst air pollution in the world. I understand why Chadwick didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to take it easy. If I had known, I wouldn’t have made him do the stuff. And I respect him for that.”
Like most other people around the world, Lee was stunned to learn about his passing.
“I went to open my phone, and my phone—the whole thing had been blowing up,” he said. “I turned it off. I was in shock.”
The last film Chadwick Boseman ever starred in is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is set to be released on Netflix this December as fans look forward to seeing the actor in a new film for the very final time.
Here’s how social media mourned Boseman’s death: