Regina King’s star power continues to rise but it’s usually for her work in front of the camera. Now, the actor is set to release her directorial debut on Amazon Prime, One Night In Miami.
Following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, the film achieved critical raves across the board, quickly garnering awards buzz in this year’s Oscar race.
The movie, which will be released on January 15, 2021, is a timely conversation about protest and racial privilege and depicts an imagined night of debate involving Cassius Clay, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X.
Set on the night of February 25, 1964, the story follows a young Cassius Clay (before he became Muhammad Ali) as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Against all odds, he defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world.
While crowds of people swarm Miami Beach to celebrate the match, Clay – unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws – instead spends the night at the Hampton House Motel in one of Miami’s historically black neighbourhoods celebrating with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown.
The next morning, the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people.
Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami is a bold story that King herself says is a “reminder” for some.
“I think it will be a reminder for some, and a discovery for others,” King said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“This conversation in the middle of right now, it has been going on forever, as far as a Black American is concerned. The passion and the pain that you hear and you see now are coming from the same space that these four men are speaking from and living through 40 years ago.”
King, who earned an Oscar for If Beale Street Could Talk and four Emmy’s (including for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Drama Series or Movie Emmy for her starring role in HBO’s Watchmen), said that even the pandemic and “self-reflection” have played a part with the success of the movie.
“I think there are those who wouldn’t have been [able] to receive it in such an emotional way if the world wasn’t on pause as it has been. It’s like we’re on a timeout. We don’t have the other distractions. Like a child on punishment, you begin to think about what you’re being punished for, about what you can do differently in the future,” she said.