"He didn't get cheated. We did," Washington said, per the Hollywood Reporter's Etan Vlessing. "I pray for his poor wife and his family. They got cheated, but he lived a full life." Washington added that he considered Boseman, who died in August at age 43 from complications related to cancer, a "gentle soul."
Elsewhere, Washington recalled seeing Black Panther for the first time, noting that he spoke with Boseman and director Ryan Coogler before the emotional premiere.
"I went backstage and I saw Chad and I saw Ryan Coogler, and then I watched the movie and I remember shedding a tear, because I thought, man, these young guys are gone," he said. "Like, they'd taken over."
During an AFI event last year, Boseman famously paid tribute to Washington by looking back on a fateful act of generosity that helped him move forward as an artist.
"There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington," Boseman said at the time:
Coogler penned an extended letter (read it here) about Boseman's legacy for Deadline late last month, calling his friend and collaborator an "anomaly" who was "constantly studying" the world around him.
"Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering," Coogler said. "He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was."
Rest in power.