Fresh off his role as a Death Row prisoner in “Clemency”, Aldis Hodge is gearing up for another high-profile role and will play activist, NFL champion and actor Jim Brown in Regina King’s feature film directorial debut. “One Night in Miami,” the feature film adaptation of Kemp Powers’ Olivier nominated stage play just started production in New Orleans and boasts an eclectic cast that includes Kingsley Ben-Adir (“The OA”) as civil rights activist Malcolm X, Eli Goree (“Riverdale”) as professional boxer and civil rights activist Cassius Clay (before becoming Muhammad Ali) and also Leslie Odom, Jr. (“Harriet”) as singer/songwriter, entrepreneur and civil rights activist Sam Cooke.
King will also executive produce the drama which is set on the night of February 25, 1964 and follows a young, brash Cassius Clay as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center the new Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Clay, who defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world was unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws and spends the evening at the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s African American Overtown neighborhood celebrating with three of his closest friends: Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown.
During this historic evening, these icons, who each were the very representation of the Pre-Black Power Movement and felt the social pressure their cross-over celebrity brought, shared their thoughts with each other about their responsibilities as influencers, standing up, defending their rights and moving the country forward to equality and empowerment for all black people.
“One Night in Miami’ is a love letter to black manhood that powerfully explores themes of race, identity and friendship,” says director Regina King. “Each of them has contributed so much to culture and history. We’re so excited to have Kingsley, Eli, Aldis and Leslie in the lead roles showing a different side of these iconic men.”
Originally staged in 2013, Kemp Powers’ play takes a well- known real-life event and imagines what might have been. Powers explores this pivotal night, the dynamic relationship between these four men, and how their friendship, successes and shared struggles fueled their paths to becoming the civil rights icons they are today.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince