Video: How Chadwick Boseman went from playing Jackie Robinson to James Brown

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How do you play James Brown? I mean, how does one pretend to be the Godfather of Soul? After all, what made him James Brown was the very fact that nobody else could be James Brown. Inimitable. Nonpareil. An electric performer, dynamic personality, and a true American original.

Fortunately for the filmmakers behind Get On Up, the Brown biopic that open in theaters on Aug. 1, Chadwick Boseman knows a little something about playing an American legend. Boseman starred as Jackie Robinson in 42, and successfully captured the athlete’s grit and composure, his fire and ice. “He has such nobility, and he brings that to James Brown,” said producer Brian Grazer.

In the new film, directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), Boseman not only has to convincingly deliver the show-stopping routines that Brown was famous for, but he has to play the Godfather from the age of 17 all the way up to 60. It’s a tall order… that Taylor knew Boseman could handle after just 20 seconds in his presence. In an exclusive production featurette, the filmmakers and Boseman’s co-stars—Viola Davis, Dan Aykroyd, Octavia Spencer—talk about the work that went to playing the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

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