Regina King has defended casting Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X in her directorial debut One Night in Miami.

The upcoming drama, also starring Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr., focuses on a fictional meeting between Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke.

During a BAFTA masterclass on Tuesday, the Oscar-winning actress was quizzed by host Reggie Yates about her decision to pick the British actor to portray the role of the famed civil rights leader, as the pair discussed the issue of American icons being played by non-U.S. actors.

“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," King explained, confessing that she had her own moments of doubt and was concerned how people would react.

"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," she shared.
The 49-year-old said some “feelings and experiences” are shared by Black people in the U.K. and the U.S..
“While, yes, the history of how a country came to be may be different, but the marginalisation of a Black man is the same... in all of those places," she added.

Ben-Adir is no stranger to playing famous American icons, as he portrayed former U.S. President Barack Obama in last year's political drama miniseries The Comey Rule.