'One Night In Miami': Regina King's Feature Directorial Debut Picked Up By Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios has acquired the rights to One Night in Miami, Oscar-winning actress Regina King's feature directorial debut. The period piece is based on Kemp Powers' 2013 play, and tells the story of an epic party in 1964 that involved Cassius Clay (before he was known as Muhammad Ali), activist Malcom X, singer Sam Cooke, and football player Jim Brown. While the movie's exact release date hasn't been locked down yet, Amazon says it's looking to release the film later this year "with an eye towards the awards corridor."

Everyone can agree that 2020 is an objectively awful year. But all things considered, it's a good time to be Regina King. On the heels of her well-deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for her work in Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, King starred in Damon Lindelof's Watchmen (one of the best shows in HBO's history). This week, she earned an Emmy nomination for that performance, and she seems like a lock to win the category. Now Amazon has picked up her very first film, which sounds pretty amazing. Here's the official synopsis:

Set on the night of February 25, 1964, the story follows a young Cassius Clay (before he became Muhammad Ali) as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Against all odds, he defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world. 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. The next morning, the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people.

In One Night in Miami, [writer Kemp Powers] explores what happened during these pivotal hours through the dynamic relationship between the four men and the way their friendship, paired with their shared struggles, fueled their path to becoming the civil rights icons they are today.

Powers wrote the movie's screenplay, adapting it from his stage production. Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment (Blindspotting, Anomalisa, The Guest) are producing with Jody Klein (The Durrells in Corfu) from ABKCO, a music company that has the license to Sam Cooke's music. The 2013 play featured Cooke's music, including his famous song "A Change Is Gonna Come," and ABKCO will release the film version's original soundtrack album in conjunction with the movie.

Directing isn't just a lark for King. She's been doing it for seven years, stepping behind the camera for episodes of Southland, Scandal, This is Us, Shameless, Insecure, and more. This film sounds incredible, and I can't wait to see how it turns out. Amazon will release One Night in Miami sometime in late 2020.