On January 21st, 2021, Variety and Amazon Studios hosted an Q&A event with the cast of “One Night in Miami.
Taking place in the civil rights era, the film focuses on Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Cassius Clay, and Sam Cooke being in the same vicinity and discussing their challenges of being public figures while fighting for equality as black men.
With Regina King, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odem Jr., and Eli Goree taking the opportunity to discuss the power and preparation behind the film, the cast really showcased the power of brotherhood amongst black men.
Starting off the interview by asking the actors how did fear come into play and what they did to prepare for the role, each of the cast’s answers had a very similar tone to it. Jokingly saying that he was more nervous of working with Regina King, Kingsley Ben-Adir, who played Malcolm X, then took the time to admit that “fear can be used as energy to drive you forward”. Eli Goree, who played Cassius Clay, later added that the four men, all “informed each other of each other’s performances”, and later confessed that it helped “take the performance to a deeper level”.
After reviewing some of the most memorable scenes from the movie, the cast started to discuss what it took to make these scenes unforgettable. When discussing the “Power” scene that involved Cassius Clay having a conversation with Sam Cooke in the car, Goree admitted that it took time and a deeper understanding to truly connect with the words. “I was trying to make a moment out of it”, Goree stated, but it really took misfortune for him to truly feel it. “It went from me playing a role to me talking to my friend about what we were seeing in the world,” Goree confessed. Leslie Odem Jr, the actor behind Sam Cooke, took it a step further and discussed the gift of going through a process. “If you allow and honor the lessons in your life, you can make use of all that you’ve been through”, Odem states. Odem also admitted to using all that he’d been through in the scene.
With the scene titled, “Economic Freedom”, the audience sees Malcolm X and Jim Brown discuss their opinions on economic freedom. When asked about the relationship and preparation of the scene, Ben-Adir begins to share the magic behind the scene. “It was just one of those magical moments when the subconscious takes control of the work”, Ben-Adir said. Aldis Hodge, who played Jim Brown, talks about how the main goal of brotherhood helped him find the tone of this very scene. “When we started to talk softer, the scene grew stronger because it gained an empathic value”.
Regina King, who served as the director, also talked about how influential this movie really is. “I remember looking back and saying wow, black men are going to be able to see themselves”, King said. She later added, “We just don’t get to see that often, and this [movie] illustrates the beauty and true power of black men”.
As a young black man, it’s refreshing to see a group of men acting on a project that’s so authentic and pure. The cast brilliantly showed how special brotherhood really is. Just like the historical characters in the movie, a lot of black men want to give back to their communities, but we all have a different definition of giving. However, instead of arguing and bringing down another man’s idea, we should have conversations and come up with an even stronger solution. Brotherhood is powerful, and as long as black men keep the foundation of it, the world will be in our hands.
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