Award-winning actress Regina King makes her directorial debut with One Night in Miami , which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
One Night in Miami is an adaption of Kemp Power’s critically acclaimed stage play with the same name. The film takes a fictional account of historic events. The cameras follow Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammed Ali) after he defeated the heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention center. The young Clay spends the evening celebrating along with his three friends, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X.
The foursome would later each become leaders in the Civil Rights era. But the story depicts them as ordinary men, it plays with the topics the friends discussed that night and how during this time of celebration they prepared each other to change the world.
Redefining the way we see these four civil rights icons is one of the main things that attracted King to the piece.
“We look at them like gods almost. But they are, they were, men.” King tells Hollywood Reporter. “What attracted me to the piece and what was a big part of the story I set out to tell was while I honor the fact that their achievements are larger than life, they are just men. They are human beings. They struggle with the same things that all black men are up against. I wanted to hear their voices speaking about just being a black man in the world.”
A key debate mentioned regarding the film is the conflicting views between Malcolm X and Sam Cooke on how to advance the Civil rights movement. But King doesn’t believe these views conflict, she tells the Hollywood Reporter that beauty “about this story is all of these ideas on how to achieve black power and respect can exist, can co-exist.”
“Their different experiences have shaped their different voices, but when you put them together when they intersect, you realize it’s not necessarily that one is more right than another. All of these ideals are necessary to achieve equity in America – something, 40 years after that meeting, that we still don’t have,” says King.
As seen from left to right in the picture above, Kingsley BenAdir plays Malcolm X, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown, Eli Goree as Cassius Clay, and Leslie Odom Jr as Sam Cooke. King refers to the actors depicting the four civil rights leaders as having “an enormous responsibility.” She tells People, that “they did not take it lightly. And so I couldn’t see anybody else playing these roles.”
One Night in Miami will be released on Amazon later this year.