The film focuses on Brown’s life growing up in poverty, rising to fame and becoming one of the world’s most influential icons in pop music.
But the pressure almost got to Boseman and he almost passed on the film altogether.
He dished to The Huffington Post about playing “The Godfather of Soul.”
He almost passed on the role because he already took on playing an icon — Jackie Robinson in “42.”
“It was actually something that I thought might not be a good idea to take on another person we revere as an icon. I was against it at first. But at the same time, when it rains it pours, and sometimes you gotta ride the wave of what’s happening,” he said.
He added, “and I meditated on it when it came to me, and asked people what they thought about it. And I just came to that decision that it was the best thing for me to do.”
But the pressure to play and channel Brown was still high.
“It was in doses. There were smaller challenges for this … It would be something as simple as “Let me learn how to do the camel walk … Let me learn how to do ‘Mash Potatoes'” … So it was just smaller things …” he said.
He added, “if you think about it from the perspective of “I’m James Brown every day,” it’s way too much. So as I got into it, I just took it apart and kept watching footage of him and read biographies. That information inspires you.”
Nevertheless, Boseman channeled Brown and learned a lot about the man and persona.
“He was very cognizant of himself as a persona. So there’s the “man” and then there’s the “persona” of James Brown. And he knew that when he walked around that people should have to pay to see him. He wanted to give you that million-dollar persona at all times. Which reminds me of what you see a lot of hip-hop stars doing, or someone like Floyd Mayweather,” he said.
He added, “it’s an interesting thing … Another thing about him is, he has all his hairdos. He would do a whole show for over an hour. Never stopped moving. And before he comes outside, he gets his hair done all over again. Rollers in the hair, dryer, everything.”
“Get On Up” hits theaters on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.
Read more at The Huffington Post.