Chadwick Boseman is known for portraying African superhero Black Panther, but will soon fend off enemies as Yasuke, the first African samurai in Japan, per Deadline. The actor is officially signed on to star in the film adaptation of the story of Yasuke, a 16th-century samurai who served Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in Japan.
Originally from Portuguese Mozambique, Yasuke was sent to Japan as a slave for Jesuit missionaries. As the first black man in the land, Yasuke attracts the attention of the cruel warlord Nobunaga, who desires to rule the divided country. The two men form a complicated relationship, as Yasuke gains Nobunaga’s “friendship, respect — and ultimately, the honor, swords, and title of samurai.”
Boseman released a statement expressing his enthusiasm over being cast in this significant role.
“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.”
In February, Deadline reported that Boseman — along with Delroy Lindo and Jean Reno — was cast for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, a film about Vietnam veterans who go back to the jungle to reclaim their lost innocence. The drama will be the next film for the award-winning director, following hot on the heels of the Oscar-nominated BlacKkKlansman.
Of course, the star is already set for the sequel to Black Panther, which Ryan Coogler will write and direct. The Disney/Marvel blockbuster that is Black Panther has grossed more than $1.35 billion at the box office.
According to Deadline, the movie was guaranteed a sequel due to its outstanding success. Marvel will typically sign a film’s cast to a multiple-movie deal due to the epic scope of its cinematic universe. Chadwick Boseman starred in the first film, along with Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, and Sterling K. Brown.
Boseman’s next project is the action-thriller 21 Bridges, which he produced with the Russo Brothers. The film was directed by Brian Kirk, Deadline reported. He stars opposite J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller, Taylor Kitsch, and If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Stephan James. The official synopsis follows.
“An embattled NYPD detective played by Boseman is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering an unexpected conspiracy. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan as the authorities close all 17 bridges to prevent any entry or exit from the iconic island. “
The movie is slated to hit theaters on July 12.