Aldis Hodge interview: ‘One Night in Miami’
“History repeats itself! Life is cyclical in so many ways,” declares Aldis Hodge about how the upcoming “One Night in Miami” a story set in 1964, is so relevant to the present day. “The importance of this film is championed even further given what has happened this year,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Hodge above.
“One Night in Miami” is Oscar and four-time Emmy-winning actress Regina King‘s big-screen directorial debut, adapted by writer Kemp Powers from his 2013 stage play of the same name. Hodge co-stars as Jim Brown, the NFL legend considered the greatest running back of all time. The film imagines what would have happened if boxer Cassius Clay a.k.a. Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), civil rights activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and football star Brown came together in a Miami hotel room after Clay defeated Sonny Liston in February of 1964. What transpires between these iconic men is a lively and timely discussion set against the backdrop of the tumultuous civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The Amazon Studios film is a strong Oscar contender after it premiered at the Venice Film Festival over Labor Day weekend, where King made history as the first African-American female director invited to show a film there. Critics have praised her deft first-time turn at the helm and have gushed over its the performances of all four of its main cast, with Hodge contending in the supporting actor category alongside Odom and Goree.
The actor is reflective about the film’s parallels to the convulsive state of American society in 2020, crediting King and Kemp for their ability to tap into the zeitgeist, imbuing the film with a sense of urgency that made it unexpectedly relevant in our current cultural and political landscape. “I feel like this film can be a great asset toward the conversation,” he explains, referencing the events of the last 6 months in the shadow of the disturbing racial injustice and systemic racism exposed by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others, which spurred uprisings against white supremacy and anti-Black violence. “What we have seen this year is actually not new. The circumstances were new, because everybody had to sit at home and deal with it. We couldn’t turn away, we had to watch it, we had to envelope ourselves in what this was.”
Hodge was grateful to play a part in a powerful and unique take on how race and violence have shaped America by spotlighting a pivotal moment in time, that he hopes will not only shed light on the social upheaval of the 1960s, but also what is happening right now. “I want to see if people actually get it. If they understand why we had to make a film like this. Like, do you finally get it now?” he says with a knowing smile. “Do you understand? We are not making this up!”