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‘One Night In Miami’: Regina King on her decision to cast non-U.S. actors to portray American characters

While speaking at a BAFTA Masterclass in London on Tuesday (Jan 12), in reference to British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir portraying Malcolm X and Canadian actor Eli Goree playing a young Muhammad Ali, director Regina King said: “If I was moved by a performance, I really don’t care where a person’s from.” She also stated, “As an audience member, to me they truly understood what they were doing, what they were embodying. After Kingsley’s first audition, I wanted to give him some notes. I wanted to just talk to him and get to know him and get to know what his relationship was to Malcolm. He said all the things that I needed to hear him say and I think it’s unfortunate that this is where we are.”

She continued, “One of the things that I’ve truly understood or discovered throughout this process of One Night in Miami, is that upon first receiving this and reading it, I thought, ‘Wow, Kemp, this is just a love letter to the black man’s experience in America.’ But then taking that step back and really taking in marginalized people across the world. There are feelings and experiences that black people in the UK, in Brazil feel that are the same as in America. While the history of how a country came to be may be different, the marginalization of a black man is the same, colorism is the same in all of those places.

“Kingsley was the best actor for that role and Eli was the best actor for that role. Sure, neither one of them are American. But can they relate to the experience and the pain felt by a black person for being disregarded just because of the color of your skin? Absolutely, they can. Can they take it upon themselves to make sure they educate themselves on the ways it’s specific to America in the history of how black Americans had built this country, it was built on the bodies of Black Americans? They can definitely educate themselves on that and they did. I wouldn’t change my choices for anyone.”

The debate about British actors being chosen over American talent has intensified in recent years with actors David Oyelowo, Cynthia Erivo and Daniel Kaluuya portraying civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman and Fred Hampton, respectively. Some argue that non-American actors should not get these roles. Others find no issue in it whatsoever. What side of the argument are you on? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

King’s directorial debut, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year, will launch on Amazon Prime January 15.

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Film & Television

Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua Are Pulling ‘Emancipation’ Production From Georgia Due To Voting Restrictions

The production of Apple’s new drama is being pulled out of Georgia due to its new controversial voting rights law.

Director/producer Antoine Fuqua and actor/producer Will Smith, who the film to Apple Studios for $120 million, have announced – they will no longer be filming in the Peach State. Scheduled to begin production in June, the drama I based on a true story of Smith’s character “Whipped Peter,” an enslaved person who emancipated himself from a southern plantation and joined the Union Army. Fuqua will direct with the script by William N. Collage.

Smith and Fuqua released an official statement early Monday, which reads:

“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”

With this decision, Emancipation becomes the first major production to exit Georgia after Governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial bill on March 26, which was deemed racist and undemocratic. The law includes new ID requirements for voters, prohibits the distribution of water at voting sights, and restricts ballot drop boxes, among other provisions. 

At this time, it is unclear where Fuqua and Smith will move their film production work.

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Film & Television

Black Reel Awards: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’, ‘One Night In Miami’ – The Complete Winners List

Here are the shows, actors and production teams who won at the 21st Annual Black Reel Awards

written by Betti Halsell

Judas and the Black Messiah has made a phenomenal stamp at the 21st Annual Black Reel Awards on April 11. The film was awarded for Outstanding film and featured stars Daniel Kaluuya and Dominique Fishback, receiving the title of Outstanding Supporting Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actress. The production team was celebrated as well – Charles King, Ryan Coogler, and Shaka King have become the first all-African American team to win Outstanding Picture, according to the report from Deadline

Other projects included Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for the iconic performance from Chadwick Boseman. He is the first posthumous winner in Black Reel Award history. The late actor received the Outstanding Actor award. Additionally, for the same film, Viola Davis took home the Outstanding Actress award for her performance. 

One Night in Miami attracted a lot of attention on Sunday as they picked up five awards: for Outstanding Director, Outstanding Emerging Director, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Breakthrough Actor, and Outstanding Song.  

Included in the wins was the animated film Soul – the first animated film to win an Outstanding Score. Black Reel Awards founder was quoted by Deadline, “What an unprecedented year it was for Black filmmakers and creatives, and I’m delighted that this year’s winners reflected the historic nature of Black Cinema. We are honored to have this year’s class of winners join the rich history of those acknowledged in the past as they stand on the shoulders of Black Cinematic giants who paved the way.”

The Black Reel Awards (BRAs) was hosted by the Foundation for the Augmentation of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF), recognizing the talent in the Black community and highlighting the cinematic achievements of the African diaspora on an international level. 

Awards are given by the total vote of the Foundation’s membership. Category winners earn a copy of a statuette, the Black Reel Award. This tradition started in 2000, in Washington D.C, with the FAAAF organization. 

See the full list of the 2020 winners shown below: 

Outstanding Film Judas and the Black Messiah | Charles D. King, Ryan Cooler, and Shaka King

Outstanding Actor Chadwick Boseman | Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Actress Viola Davis | Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Supporting Actor Daniel Kaluuya | Judas and the Black Messiah

Outstanding Supporting Actress Dominique Fishback | Judas and the Black Messiah

Outstanding Director Regina King | One Night in Miami

Outstanding Screenplay Radha Blank | The 40-Year-Old Version

Outstanding Documentary Time | Garrett Bradley

Outstanding Ensemble One Night in Miami | Kimberly Hardin

Outstanding Foreign-Language Film Night of the Kings | Philippe Lacote (Senegal)

Outstanding Score Soul | Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Jon Batiste

Outstanding Original Song Speak Now (One Night in Miami) | Leslie Odom, Jr.

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male Kingsley Ben-Adir | One Night in Miami

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female Andra Day | The U.S. vs. Billie Holiday

Outstanding Voice Performance Jamie Foxx | Soul

Outstanding Independent Film The 40-Year-Old Version | Radha Blank

Outstanding Independent Documentary Mr. Soul! | Melissa Haizlip

Outstanding Independent Short Canvas | Frank E. Abney III

Outstanding Emerging Director One Night in Miami | Regina King

Outstanding First Screenplay The 40-Year-Old Version | Radha Blank

Outstanding Cinematography Malcolm & Marie | Marcell Rev

Outstanding Costume Design Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey | Michael Wilkinson

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Film & Television

DMX’s Most Memorable Movie Roles

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The multi-platinum rapper DMX has made his name known around the world mainly through his music. He, however, also had a decent acting resume. From Belly to Pimp, here are some of X’s most memorable film appearances.

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