What happens when Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X get together in a Miami hotel room? That’s the setting of the upcoming film One Night in Miami, for which a trailer was released by Amazon Studios this week.
Based on the 2013 play by Kemp Powers, the story is a fictional portrayal of a real event that occurred on Feb, 25, 1964. Ali, then 22-year-old Cassius Clay, defeated Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight championship. (No worries about the film attempting to re-enact the famous photo of Clay standing over Liston. That happened during their rematch in 1965.)
Following the fight, Clay (Eli Goree, Ballers) meets up with Brown (Aldis Hodge, Brian Banks), Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton), and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir, High Fidelity) to celebrate. But the gathering soon becomes a much more serious dialogue concerning the plight of Black people in the United States.
Clay, Brown, and Cooke ask themselves whether or not they should use their celebrity profiles to speak out against racism and help the Black community. Do their fame and fortune make up for the mistreatment and humiliation they’ve suffered?
Take a look at the trailer for the film:
Fans of Ali might know that the meeting also became a pivotal event for young Cassius Clay. Malcolm X had also become a mentor to Clay, who was compelled to announce the next day that he would be known as Cassius X. Weeks later, he’d take the name Muhammad Ali.
Who’s behind the camera makes One Night in Miami even more intriguing. Academy Award-winning actress Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) is directing her first feature film.
If this movie generates Oscar buzz (and it prompted a bidding war among studios after premiering at the Venice Film Festival this year), King could become the first Black woman ever nominated for Best Director. She would also be the first to win an Academy Award for an acting performance and earn a directing nomination. (Earlier this year, King won an Emmy Award for her role in HBO’s Watchmen.)
One Night in Miami will premiere on Amazon Prime Video Jan. 15, 2021. The film will also get a limited theatrical release on Christmas Day (to qualify for Academy Award consideration) for those who might want to see the movie on a big screen… and feel safe going to a movie theater these days.