Regina King is one of the most important Black women in Hollywood and she’s just unveiled her directorial debut, One Night in Miami, at the Venice Film Festival.
Based on the play of the same name from Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami imagines a conversation between four history-making men; Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir).
The Oscar-winning actress, who stars in this year’s most Emmy-nominated series, Watchmen, has already received rave reviews for her first film as a director.
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Set on the night of February 25, 1964, the story follows a young Cassius Clay as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center as the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Against all odds, he’s defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the world of boxing.
While crowds of people swarm Miami Beach’s hotspots to celebrate the match, Clay — unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws — spends the night at the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood celebrating with three of his friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, and football star Jim Brown. The next morning, the men emerge determined to define a new world.
In One Night in Miami, Powers aims to pinpoint exactly what happened during those pivotal hours. Featuring the music of Cooke, including his hit song, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the film offers a piercing narrative for the evening, which challenges the four men, strips them bare and reveals them for who they were.
The film has already been acquired by Amazon.
“One Night in Miami beautifully captures a significant moment in history when these great minds gathered and ultimately helped shape the conversation of what we know today as the civil rights movement,” Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios’ said in a statement.
“Regina King is a force of nature – mastering her craft in front of the camera as we’ve seen in her extensive body of work, and now taking her talent behind the camera. We’re so proud to welcome Regina and Kemp to the Amazon family.”
King was delighted by the acquisition.
“Amazon’s enthusiasm for One Night in Miami is both humbling and exciting,” she added. “I am honored to have them as partners on my feature film directorial debut.”
The film, set to release this year, will show at the Toronto Film Festival.
Variety obtained the first clip of the highly-anticipated film.
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