Regina King is adding “director” to her beefy resume that already includes impressive acting roles that earned her an Oscar, three Emmys and a Golden Globe — now she’s set to unveil her feature directorial debut with “One Night in Miami,” which is premiering at TIFF 2020.
King discussed the film with TheWrap’s Steve Pond alongside her four stars, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr., who play a quartet of Black icons: Malcolm X, Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke respectively. Based on a stage play by Kemp Powers, the film tells a fictional story of the four men meeting at a Miami hotel in February 1964 shortly after Clay defeated Sonny Liston in a legendary upset to become boxing’s world heavyweight champion.
The dialogue in the play, penned by Kemp Powers, was what initially drew King to the project.
“When I read Kemp Powers’ script I felt like I had never seen these types of conversations happening on screen before. I jumped on the opportunity to be a part of that,” King explained.
“I just felt that the conversations they were having are conversations that all Black men were having no matter what their economic background is, their celebrity is,” she added. “It felt like this was an opportunity to be a part of telling the story that hopefully reflects every Black man that I know and I love.”
Given the leads are all male roles, King joked the director’s job was the only part she could take. “Honestly, the only way I could be a part of it is to be a director. Because something about me [points to herself] doesn’t allow me to play one of these men.”
“These men,” she continued, “no matter who you talk to, one of these men falls on a person’s lists as one of their greatest.”
Watch the video above to see how Ben-Adir, Goree, Hodge and Odom Jr. approached playing the icons.
Jeremy Fuster contributed to this report.