By Natalia Ningthoujam, (IANS) Grammy and Tony Award-winning vocalist, songwriter, author and actor Leslie Odom Jr. is one of the cast members of One Night In Miami, which marks the directorial debut of actress Regina King. He says it was very easy to trust her on set.
Regina has impressed the audience with her performances in projects like Jerry Maguire, If Beale Street Could Talk and Watchmen.
She went behind the camera for One Night In Miami, which will globally release in January on an OTT platform.
“I am such an admirer of her work on television and in film. It was very easy to trust her on set. Her notes to me always made me better,” Leslie told IANS on being directed by Regina.
The film revolves around four icons — boxer Cassius Clay, activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown — hanging out in a Miami motel.
Women directors tend to tell stories about strong women characters, but Leslie was “not really” surprised to see Regina taking a different route.
“Men have been directing pictures centered around women for a century. I was excited to see the perspective she would bring,” he said.
Leslie himself has explored different mediums — Broadway, television, film and music. Lately, the focus has been shifting to diversity in showbiz. Asked which medium is most diverse, the actor said: “To be honest, there has been an effort put toward change and growth in all the spaces. Truly. It is a fruitful and wonderful time to be a creative.”
“Television might be the most diverse space at the moment — in part because there are so many platforms. So many hours to fill with content. Lots of exciting, young, diverse talent getting chance to take risks and make interesting and special work. I think this trend will only grow for the foreseeable future,” added Leslie.
As much as he enjoys acting, he loves his music career too.
“The variety is my favourite part. I don’t ever have to think about quitting. Usually, the business takes care of giving me ‘sabbaticals’ from time to time. That’s a gentle way of saying I spend plenty of time unemployed. It took me years to learn that those were the times I had to make best use of myself. Those are the times when I write and record my own material,” said Leslie, who made a mark with his roles in films like Murder On The Orient Express and Hamilton, and the series Central Park.
Leslie had quite a busy time during lockdown. He starred in Love In The Time Of Corona, and released The Christmas Album, among various projects.