Portraying an artist as legendary as James Brown requires complete and total focus—especially when you're only given two months to get in character. Chadwick Boseman, who stars as Brown in the new bio-pic Get On Up, stopped by Top 20 Countdown to chat about the various challenges of bringing back The Godfather of Soul.
On top of having just two months of prep time instead of two years, Boseman covered over 40 years of Brown's life for the film. "The hardest part of the character was just his changes because I play him from 17 to 63. I definitely wanted the 1988 James Brown; I was probably more worried about that, but I think it was just the changes over time. I would be 17 in the morning and 63 in the afternoon," he said.
And because the actor had cut himself off from family and friends while preparing for his role, a post-filming James Brown "exorcism" was needed to return to his previous state of mind.
Of course, when you're making a film about one of music's greatest names, beats on set are crucial for getting everyone in the right mindset. Boseman revealed that while he usually listened to Brown's Live at the Apollo album, different situations called for different songs.
"I would have different moments for different things. My assistant would always play 'The Boss' while we were arriving to work just to let everybody know he's here now. But most of the time, it was James Brown. I had to put away some of the other music that I would normally listen to," he said, naming Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z as examples.