Regina King to Star in Shirley Chisholm Biopic, John Ridley to Direct


Regina King is on a serious hot streak right now.


Regina King is on a serious hot streak, professionally speaking, right now. The One Night in Miami director and Watchmen star has been set as the lead of a new biopic about Shirley Chisholm. King is the most recent actor to sign on to a project where Chisholm, America’s first Black congresswoman who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972, is a leading character. Previously, Uzo Aduba portrayed Chisholm in the FX limited series Mrs. America. Then, in late 2020, it was announced Danai Gurira would portray Chisholm in a non-biopic look at her presidential campaign.

The King-led biopic, titled Shirley (not to be confused with the Elisabeth Moss 2020 feature Shirley about author Shirley Jackson), will be a separate project from the Gurira/Chisholm project. Shirley will be produced by Participant, and will also be written and directed by John Ridley, the screenwriter behind 12 Years a Slave. King will also serve as an executive producer alongside Reina King under their Royal Ties Productions banner. Additionally, Shirley will be based on Chisholm’s life story rights acquired through an exclusive agreement with the Chisholm Estate. The biopic will offer “an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the most ground-breaking political leaders of our time during a seminal period in modern American history.”

Image via Amazon Studios

King shared a statement on her involvement in Shirley, commenting,

“Shirley Chisholm’s fearless determination has been an inspiration to so many of us, and with this film we hope to inspire many generations to come. To collaborate once again with my friend and mentor, John Ridley, and the team at Participant, makes this decade-long journey even sweeter.”

Ridley added to King’s comments, stating, “Regina’s passion for bringing a complete and very human portrait of Shirley to life has been evident since literally the day we first met. I’m very thankful to both Regina and Reina trusting me to partner in telling the story of this truly remarkable individual.”

Participant CEO David Linde offered up a warm statement about Shirley, too:

“Shirley Chisholm’s life as a politician and her groundbreaking career in Washington is a critical part of American history that is far too often overlooked. We are thrilled to partner with John, Regina, Reina and a tremendously talented creative team to share the story of this remarkable woman with audiences everywhere.”

Production on Shirley expected to be later in 2021. In the meantime, catch up on King’s recent Saturday Night Live appearance and learn more about the 2021 SAG Awards nominees.

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