Regina King won rave reviews — not to mention a lead actress Emmy — for her explosive performance in HBO’s “Watchmen”.
Now, the acclaimed actress is stepping behind the camera to make her directorial debut in new feature “One Night in Miami”, a fictional meeting of Black icons and real-life friends Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), NFL great Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), heavyweight boxing champ Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) and soul singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.).
With “One Night in Miami” set to screen in January at the Venice Film Festival — it made its premiere in September at TIFF — King will make film history as the first Black female director to have a film screened at Venice, and she opened up about the experience in a new cover story for WSJ. Magazine.
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In the wide-ranging interview, she opens up about her brush with COVID-19, her goal to one day perform on Broadway and why she feels it’s important to tell stories that humanize Black men.
Completing the film in the midst of a global pandemic, she told the magazine, “has truly been a welcome distraction. I find that… on set or editing, working on the music for the film [or] on the color, it forces you to focus on something else. Because everything around us has to do with the pandemic, who’s been in office, this election. But as a Black American, that’s been the story before we were even born — of being marginalized people. That’s all the time happening, and the work kind of allows for me to escape it and not feel like I’m irresponsibly escaping it.”
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While making “One Night in Miami”, the one face she kept in her mind was that of her 24-year-old son.
“We meet [Black men] in places where they’re each getting punched in the gut and getting reminded of their Blackness or inequities in some way,” she explained. “I wanted the world to see Black men the way I see them, as complex, as vulnerable, as strong… as human beings that feel — who are not void of being hurt.”
When film production ground to a halt in March, King still had two final scenes to shoot. With looming festival deadlines and an unfinished film, her plans to complete the film nearly derailed when thought she tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’m pulling up to the testing site [to do a second test], and they called and said, ‘The test came in and you’re negative.’ I literally started crying,” she said.
RELATED: Regina King Says ‘One Night In Miami’ Is A ‘Love Letter To The Black Man’s Experience’, Including Her Son
The entire interview can be found in the latest issue of WSJ. Magazine.