Regina King is paving the way for aspiring Black female directors to break barriers in the film industry.
The Watchmen star, 49, recently premiered her film, One Night in Miami, at the 77th Venice Film Festival, becoming the first Black woman to ever have her film chosen in the annual festival's 87-year history (it's about time!).
Though the huge milestone definitely calls for celebration, King is well aware of the double standards surrounding her achievement, noting that the film could either "open doors or close doors for more Black female directors."
According to Variety, she said, "Unfortunately, across the world, that's how things seem to work. One woman gets a shot and if she does not succeed, it shuts thing down for years until someone else gets a shot."
King's film, One Night in Miami, is an adaptation of Kemp Powers' 2013 stage play of the same name. It centers on the fictional meeting of Black American icons like Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) in 1964. After Clay's historic win over Sonny Liston, the four men celebrate together at the Hampton House Motel and discuss the civil rights movement.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, King considered postponing the film's release. But because of the Black Lives Matter movement and recent protests, she felt that One Night in Miami, which she called "a love letter to the Black man’s experience in America," would be timely.
She explained, "We thought we’d push it back because we didn’t know what the climate of going to theaters would be like. And then a couple of months after the pandemic hit, [George Floyd was killed in police custody], and for all the producers and everyone involved, we were like, ‘This needs to come out now.’ I feel like fate always had it planned out this way, but maybe we’re lucky and we’re going to have the opportunity to be a piece of art out there that moves the needle in a conversation about transformative change."
We honestly can't wait to see this masterpiece. But in the meantime, here's an exclusive first look, courtesy of Amazon.