FOUR LEGENDS. ONE LEGENDARY NIGHT.
In 1964, as four successful and famous Black men are facing obstacles, they meet in a hotel room in Miami where their personalities and opinions clash. Kemp Powers’s debut play feels anything but stage-bound in the hands of first-time feature director Regina King who makes us feel like a fly on the wall as the conversations and arguments move effortlessly in and out of that hotel room. The fictitious meeting between Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke address the civil-rights struggle and what, if any, role sports and music should play in it. Often arresting; Leslie Odom, Jr. is the cast’s stand-out.
2020-U.S. 114 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein. Directed by Regina King. Screenplay, Play: Kemp Powers. Music: Terence Blanchard. Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir (Malcolm X), Eli Goree (Cassius Clay), Aldis Hodge (Jim Brown), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Sam Cooke), Lance Reddick, Christian Magby… Michael Imperioli, Beau Bridges.
Last word: “We always felt like it was going to be timely, before the events of 2020. So it just really made it feel even more urgent. For these conversations to happen publicly, I think that it’s a reminder that in ’64, while this is a dramatization of what could have been discussed that night, they were experiencing powder keg moments then. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. Prior to the ’60s, these conversations were happening. They were just fresh off of four girls being bombed in the church in Alabama, they were just fresh off of JFK’s assassination, so the urgency that you hear in Malcolm’s voice in that moment is the same urgency that exists right now.” (King, Buzzfeed)