Clarke Peters regrets thinking Chadwick Boseman was "precious" on the set of "Da 5 Bloods", as he had no idea his co-star was battling cancer.
Peters shot the Spike Lee film in Thailand last year (19), with Boseman playing the dead comrade of a group of African-American Vietnam War vets in flashbacks the older members of the cast also appeared in.
"The Wire" actor says he had absolutely no idea the "Black Panther" star, who passed away from the disease on Friday (28Aug20), was ill – assuming the team and family members the actor had around him on set were down to his superstar status.
"We were shooting in Thailand actually and when I look back at that time, I have to say with a little bit of regret that I probably wasn't the most altruistic in that environment, but hindsight teaches us a lot of things," Peters tells U.K. TV show "Good Morning Britain".
"And what I'm addressing is basically, my wife asked what Chadwick was like and I was really excited to work with him. I said, 'I think he's a little bit precious' and she said 'Why?' And I said, 'Because he's surrounded by people who are fawning over him – a Chinese practitioner who's massaging his back when he walks off set, he's got a make-up lady who's massaging his feet, his girlfriend is there holding his hand, and I'm thinking, 'Well maybe the Black Panther thing went to his head.' "
Breaking down with emotion, he adds, "But now I regret even having those thoughts because they were really looking after him."
Paying tribute to his co-star now he knows the truth, the 68-year-old praises him as someone who will be a hero and role model for black youngsters for many years to come.
"We've lost a very sweet soul," he gushes. "We've lost a fine actor, we've lost a man of integrity, what we've gained is a man who put a lot of younger people of colour on track. If everyone has a purpose in life, he certainly played the role of a hero in many, many ways."