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The nominees panel – Deadline

When it premiered last September at the Venice Film Festival, Regina King’s directorial debut One night in Miami was one of the early favorites for awards. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Supporting Actor, the film is based on the acclaimed play by Kemp Powers, which tells a fictional tale of the night of February 25, 1964, when boxer Cassius Clay, activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and soon-to-be actor NFL star Jim Brown spend an evening together in a hotel room in Miami.

Powers, who has also adapted his own work for the screen, told the Amazon Studios panel at the Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees virtual event, that although his piece debuted in 2013, it had been a long process. to achieve this.

Film Contenders: The Nominees – Watch the livestream

“It took me about two years to put the piece together,” he recalls during the conversation which also included his Oscar-nominated colleague Leslie Odom Jr. “It had been years of research that I had. had done before, because when I found out that that night had taken place, my original intention was to write a book about the friendship between these four men. So when I started doing research – compiling interviews and information about the four men – the intention was always to write a book about their friendship and not just focus on that particular night, because that particular night was a bit confusing. There wasn’t much information on the details of what they had discussed. “

“I was really flying blind,” he continued. “But then, luckily, as my career as a journalist came to an end, my career as a creative writer resumed. And the very thing that had confused me as a budding biographer, so to speak – who wasn’t able to fill the void – was just the perfect fodder for a story I wanted to tell and which, honestly, is a conversation that has been going on in the community since long before that night, and continues to this day. And that is: what social responsibility do you have, if any, if you are a black person in the public eye? “

Powers expressed gratitude for King’s control and guidance on the film, as did Odom, who plays Cooke and sings the Oscar-nominated song from the film “Speak Now.”

“The most important job, I think, of a film director is to wrap everyone in the same vision,” Odom said. “The actors are among the last people to go to a set and start filming. We get there and we’re like, “Where am I going? But the fact that we all got there on day one and knew what we were there to do – we really understood what the marching orders were – is due to Regina’s clarified vision. And she made us something so beautiful. [She took] all the disparate parts of it, she unified it and made us something so special.

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