Oscar-winning actress Regina King will make her feature-directing debut with an adaptation of Kemp Powers’ debut play, One Night in Miami, which finds Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown hanging out together at a Miami motel.
Set on the night of February 25th, 1964, the story follows a young Cassius Clay — before he was known as Muhammad Ali, for our younger readers — fresh off his victory over Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title, which shocked the entire boxing world. While thousands of people hit the night clubs of Miami Beach to party the night away, Jim Crow-era segregation laws forced Clay to celebrate at the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, where he was joined by his three iconic friends. In addition to their private lives, they also discuss the responsibility of being successful black men during the civil rights movement. The next morning, they all emerged from that room determined to define a new world.
According to Deadline, the play strips the men of their myth and examines who they really were as people, all set to Cooke’s timeless music, including his hit song “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Powers adapted his own play, and he and King are eager to explore what happened in that room, and how those events affected the world at large in the years to come.
One Night in Miami will be produced by Snoot Entertainment and ABKCO. Keith Calder and Jess Wu Calder will produce for Snoot, while Jody Klein will produce for ABCKO. Snoot most recently produced the upcoming Lupita Nyong’o–Josh Gad movie Little Monsters and the searing Sundance drama Blindspotting.
King has been working her way up to this moment, which arrives on the heels of her Oscar-winning turn in Barry Jenkins‘ drama If Beale Street Could Talk. She has been directing episodes of Scandal, Shameless, The Good Doctor and This Is Us for years, so she has paid her dues behind the camera.
As an actress, King got her start working with the late, great John Singleton on Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice and Higher Learning before going on to star in hit studio movies like Friday, Jerry Maguire and Ray. King will soon be seen in Damon Lindelof‘s new HBO series Watchmen, which looks absolutely fantastic. She’s represented by ICM Partners and John Carrabino Management, and the Observer and Production Weekly were out front with the news.