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Regina King: ‘Kingsley Ben-Adir was the best actor to play Malcolm X’

Regina King has defended casting Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X.

The One Night In Miami director has opened up on her decision to get the British actor – who portrayed Barack Obama in The Comey Rule – to play the African-American civil rights leader during a fictional meeting with Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Muhammad Ali in her new movie.

Speaking to Reggie Yates during a BAFTA masterclass this week, King said: “In my opinion, I feel like the best actor for the role should play the part; the actor that truly understands the role that they’re playing.

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“And of course I had my own moments of thinking, ‘How are people going to (react)?’ because, as you say, this conversation is going on and it’s been going on.

“But up until that moment, if I was moved by a performance, I really don’t care where a person’s from because as an audience member, to me, they truly understood what they were doing, what they were embodying.”

King makes her feature-length directorial debut with the drama flick, and also teased her upcoming projects during the masterclass, while explaining how she has a range of plans both inspired by real world events and others intended as an escape.

“I definitely am developing things that are lighter in subject matter, but yes, quite a few of the other projects that I’m developing are reflections of what is going on in our world,” she added.

“So that is something I can’t help. But, you know, I am a fun person. I do laugh.”

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