“Marshall,” out Friday, is not about Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court justice and lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education. It’s about Marshall as a young attorney arguing one of his earliest cases. Chadwick Boseman (“Get On Up”) plays the civil rights hero at the start of his career.
How is this Marshall different from the one in the history books?
It’s the man you don’t know, the man about town. You see what he’s giving up to go into hell and make people’s lives better.
What enables him to do that?
He’s willing to walk into the lion’s den — he’s upset when anyone else walks into the lion’s den, because he thinks, “I could have done it better.” He’s the guy who’s not afraid to take the free throws because he’s not afraid to miss.
Did you worry about making sure that confidence doesn’t make him look like a jerk?
One of the first things I was taught as an actor was “don’t judge the character.” If a character does something borderline a–hole, I’m not the one to judge. Whatever he’s chosen to do in the scene, he’s justified. I don’t have to worry about it.