In case you might have missed this…In the midst of his ongoing tenure as Black Panther within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chadwick Boseman is now gearing up to tackle a different sort of warrior role with the upcoming “Yasuke”. Penned by screenwriter Doug Miro, “Yasuke” will hold a unique distinction over most Samurai films, being based on the life of the first non-Asian Samurai in feudal Japan!
A native of Mozambique, Yasuke arrived in Japan as a missionary slave, drawing the attention of the warlord Nobunaga. The two men gradually became friends, with Yasuke eventually earning the title of Samurai.
Of his role in “Yasuke”, Boseman, who is also set to produce the film, is quoted as saying:
“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai…That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”
Portraying black characters of great historical relevance has proven to be something of a recurring theme throughout Boseman’s career. Aside from his notoriety as Black Panther, the first black superhero to appear in mainstream comics, Boseman first drew attention with 2008’s “The Express” in the role of NFL halfback Ernie Davis, the first black recipient of the Heisman Trophy. Boseman later broke out with 2013’s “42” in the role of Jackie Robinson, well-known for his instrumental role in breaking down racial segregation walls within Major League Baseball, and would subsequently tackle the roles of James Brown in 2014’s “Get on Up” and Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s “Marshall”.
The role of a Samurai will no doubt prove to be one heavy on swordplay and martial arts (just ask Tom Cruise circa “The Last Samurai”). Boseman previously readied himself for the role of Black Panther with the help of Marrese Crump, himself notable as the first non-Asian student of the legendary Thai master of action and mentor to Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai. Whether Marrese’s services will once again be retained for “Yasuke” is not known at this time, but KFK certainly gives him our ringing endorsement for the job!