Amazon Nabs Regina King’s Feature Directorial Debut ‘One Night in Miami’ for Awards Season

The film will have its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival in September.
"One Night in Miami"
On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), defeats heavy weight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Based on the award-winning play of the same name by Kemp Powers, who also adapted it to screenplay, and directed by Regina King, her feature directorial debut, "One Night In Miami" is a fictional account inspired by the historic night these four formidable figures spent together. The film digs into the struggles they each faced and the vital role they played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. More than 50 years later, their conversations on racial injustice, religion, and personal responsibility still resonate. This movie is a love letter to the Black man’s experience in America. It depicts these icons as men first, human beings, close friends who could be brutally honest with each other at a time of hard-fought change which still resonates today. Unfortunately, the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor imply that the struggle for racial equality continues. It's an impressive debut for King.

On the heels of this morning’s announcement that Regina King’s feature directorial debut “One Night in Miami” will world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival comes news that Amazon Studios has landed worldwide distribution rights to the ensemble drama. The film is written by Olivier-nominated Kemp Powers, who adapted the project from his own 2013 stage play of the same name. A statement from Amazon confirms a release is being planned for “later in the year with an eye towards the awards corridor.”

“One Night in Miami” is set on February 25, 1964 in the aftermath of Cassius Clay defeating Sonny Liston for the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Per Amazon’s official synopsis: “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 neighborhoods celebrating with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, and football star Jim Brown.”

King’s ensemble cast includes Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, Eli Goree as Cassius Clay, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown, and Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke. Supporting cast members include Lance Reddick, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Michael Imperioli, and Beau Bridges.

“‘One Night in Miami’ beautifully captures a significant moment in history when these great minds gathered and ultimately helped shape the conversation of what we know today as the civil rights movement,” Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “Regina King is a force of nature — mastering her craft in front of the camera as we’ve seen in her extensive body of work, and now taking her talent behind the camera. We’re so proud to welcome Regina and Kemp to the Amazon family.”

Added King, “Amazon’s enthusiasm for ‘One Night in Miami’ is both humbling and exciting. I am honored to have them as partners on my feature film directorial debut.”

King has been having a run of career-defining work as “One Night in Miami” news follows her latest Primetime Emmy Award nomination. King is set to compete in the race for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series thanks to her performance in HBO’s “Watchmen,” which earned 26 total nominations this year. She’s been on an Emmys tear, winning three since 2015, including two for “American Crime.” In 2019, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

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