Glynn Turman, a co-star of Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, has recalled that the late actor would practice his trumpet between takes to playfully outmatch his fellow cast members.

Set in 1920s Chicago, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom tells the story of a fateful recording session with legendary 'Mother of the Blues', Ma Rainey (played by Viola Davis). Boseman stars as Levee Green, a trumpeter who has plans to start his own band.

"Chadwick was playing all the time," Turman told breakfast show Today, recounting: "He had that (trumpet) going hard in his hands at every moment. When you heard, 'Cut!', you'd still hear Chadwick (playing)."

In the same interview, Michael Potts, who plays Slow Drag, a double bassist, explained that the cast all had to learn to play their instruments.

"We did, we didn't have a choice!" he shared.

He noted that director George C. Wolfe didn't set a limit on the standard the actors needed to know their instruments, which led to a spirit of competition on set.

"We joked that we would hear each other rehearse and then get back to work, 'cause we wanted to make sure we were not outdone, so that's probably why we became as proficient as we did," he said.

The movie became Boseman's swan song before he passed away in August from a hidden battle with colon cancer.
Another cast member, Colman Domingo, remarked that no-one suspected Boseman was unwell during filming.

"When I tell you, not one person saw it, at all... He always demanded, 'George, can I get one more (take)? Can I get one more?' He'd always want to do another take, another take. He was a consummate professional," Domingo recollected.

"He was having a good time, and that was the thing," added Potts, musing: "You had all the superhuman strength, but you had someone who was truly enjoying the process, of doing this and being here. It was incredibly important for him."

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is now streaming on Netflix.