Shadan Larki speaks with Kingsley Ben-Adir, who stars as Malcolm X, in Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night in Miami.
Having recently been given the Breakthrough Actor award at the 2021 Gothams, Kingsley Ben-Adir, a successful star of stage and screen in his native England, finds himself in the midst of his very first awards cycle.
The praise comes for his portrayal of civil rights icon Malcolm X in One Night in Miami. The film, which marks Academy Award winner Regina King’s directorial debut, imagines a night in 1964 when four long-time friends meet in celebration. They just happen to also be four icons of American culture— Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and the before-mentioned Malcolm X (Ben-Adir). What begins as a night of jubilation following Clay’s defeat of heavy-weight champion Sonny Liston evolves into a much deeper meditation as they wrestle with when, and how, to use the public platforms afforded to them as four of the most prominent African American men in the nation—a debate that feels ripped from the headlines. And one that threatens the foundation of their friendship.
Adapted by Kemp Powers from his stage-play of the same name, One Night in Miami finds Ben-Adir’s Malcolm X at a moment in time when he is beginning to doubt his relationship with the Nation of Islam. He is plotting what to do next and how to protect his family, an increasingly delicate position—but his presence is as commanding, and compelling, as ever. Ben-Adir plays this nuance beautifully—vulnerable when appropriate, but always charged with charisma. One Night in Miami features one of the best ensembles of the year, and Ben-Adir displays crackling chemistry with his costars. But his work should also be recognized as a shining example of a transformative performance—truly an astounding Breakthrough.
Here, in a podcast interview with Awards Daily’s Shadan Larki, Ben-Adir details how he crafted his version of Malcolm X and how working with King helped him make the most of a dream role.
Be sure to keep an eye on your podcast and social media feeds as awards season heats up—the Awards Daily team has plenty more podcasts and interviews on the way. But, for now, please this podcast interview with One Night in Miami’s Kingsley Ben-Adir.
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