By Rachel Yang
July 30, 2020 at 02:00 PM EDT
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Regina King's feature directorial debut One Night in Miami, which tells the little-known story of a defining night in American sports and civil rights, has been acquired by Amazon Studios. Written by Kemp Powers and based on his play of the same name, the film is expected to premiere on Amazon Prime Video later this year as an awards-season hopeful.

Diana L Ragland

The film follows Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) in the immediate aftermath of his historic defeat of Sonny Liston, which made him the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. The night after the match, which took place on Feb. 25, 1964, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Clay was unable to celebrate in Miami Beach due to Jim Crow-era segregation laws. Instead, he spent the evening at the Hampton House Motel in a historically Black neighborhood with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), legendary singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and football icon Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). "The next morning, the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people," according to the studio's synopsis.

Amazon Studios

One Night in Miami beautifully captures a significant moment in history when these great minds gathered and ultimately helped shape the conversation of what we know today as the civil rights movement,” said Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke in a statement. “Regina King is a force of nature — mastering her craft in front of the cameras as we’ve seen in her extensive body of work, and now taking her talent behind the camera. We’re so proud to welcome Regina and Kemp to the Amazon family."

The news comes fresh off King’s Emmy nomination for Watchmen, HBO’s acclaimed limited series. In 2018, the actress earned an Academy Award for starring in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk. As a director, King has helmed episodes of shows like Southland, Scandal, This Is Us, Shameless, Insecure, and more.

King, who’s also executive producing the film with Powers, previously shared with EW first-look images of the four stars of One Night in Miami as the iconic figures they're portraying. EW also exclusively learned that Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard, who just worked on Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, will score the film.

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