If you were waiting for another music-filled film to sweep you away, Netflix has got you covered. The streamer's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, based on the August Wilson stageplay of the same name is hurtling our way and it looks ... like it's primed for Oscar season.
Starring Viola Davis in the titular role of Ma Rainey, the plot centers around an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago. Rainey, the Mother of Blues, is fighting for control of her music, against her white producer. As the trailer teases, it's not just control of her music though: Rainey controls it all.
"We'll be ready to go when madam says we'll be ready to go and that's the way it go round here," Rainey tells her manager at one point. A woman after our own hearts.
Rainey is a singular role in Wilson's repertoire that is a LGBTQ+ character. Ma was a lesbian and unabashed about her sexuality. "Went out last night with a crowd of my friends," she sang in her song "Prove It on Me." "Must have been women cause I don't like men." And aproaching the sexuality aspect in the right way was something that was important to Davis.
In a press event today, Davis said that she wanted to "not make that a negative. When I read about Ma Rainey, she simply was," she said. "Dussi Mae was her woman, unapologetically."
In the film, Mae becomes a point of contention as the band's new horn player Levee (played by Chadwick Boseman) has his eye on her.
Directed by George C. Wolf, with Denzel Washington on as a producer (also a much-needed shout out here to Ann Roth who was the costume designer,) Ma Rainey's Black Bottom hits Netflix December 18 and begins hitting select theaters in November.