‘Being black in America requires emotional aerobics’: Regina King on ‘powder keg’ movie One Night in Miami

The Oscar-winning Beale Street actor on success and her sharply topical feature debut, a civil rights-era film that coincided with the explosive rise of Black Lives Matter

To say Regina King is “having a moment” feels a little inappropriate, considering that she is 35 years into her career. But it also feels like an understatement. In the past five years she has won an Oscar, four Emmys and numerous other awards for her performances in a string of acclaimed titles, including Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk, the prescient comic-book miniseries Watchmen and the Netflix race-crime drama Seven Seconds. As well as marching her down several miles of red carpet, the flurry of attention has catapulted her into a new echelon of star power.

Now she is also making waves as a director. Her debut feature, One Night in Miami, was the first film directed by an African American woman ever to screen at the Venice film festival. The resultant acclaim, combined with the resonance of the civil rights-era story, puts it in contention for the upcoming awards season; she is considered a shoo-in for the best director shortlists. Everything King touches seems to be turning to gold right now. What’s her secret?

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