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Oscar winner surprised to learn she’s on shortlist to direct Superman reboot

Zack Snyder wants to see a Black Superman in movies
Calvin Ellis, the Black Superman. Pic credit: DC Comics

An Oscar winner is being touted as the possible director for the upcoming Superman reboot — which is news to her. 

Academy Award-winning actress Regina King was surprised to be told in an interview that she’s in the running to headline the planned “Black Superman” reboot from J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

The new Superman

Since the planned reboot was announced, speculation has run rampant that it will not be set in the regular DCEU. Rather, it will take place on an alternate Earth and feature Calvin Ellis, the “Black Superman.”

Introduced in 2008’s Final Crisis event, Cal hails from the alternate Earth-23. Instead of Kansas, he was found and adopted by an inner-city black couple and raised with different values. 

Clearly modeled on Barack Obama, Calvin eventually rose up to become President of the United States. He also saves the world as Superman with, amazingly, no one realizing who he truly is. 

The character has appeared a few more times in comics and has a good following. This makes him a likely choice for his own solo movie. 

What’s not likely is the woman on the shortlist to direct the film. 

King directing Superman?

While appearing on MSNBC’s The Cross Connection to discuss the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, Regina King was put on the spot by host Tiffany Cross’s news. 

“I’m curious because this is a little bit of gossip. You’re rumored to be on the shortlist to direct Superman. You and Barry Jenkins, both of your names have been thrown out there,” Cross said. “Anything you want to tell us? Is there any news you can break this morning about those conversations?”

King was visibly surprised to hear of this. “Tiffany, that is news to me. You have broke the news to me,” laughed King. “A news break, live on MSNBC! Yeah, no, I have not heard that until just now.”

The announcement appears to surprise King, given she’s better known as an actress than a director.

King first came to fame starring in the 1980s NBC sitcom 227. She then moved on to supporting roles in movies like Jerry Maguire and Miss Congeniality 2. 

King found greater success on television, winning four Emmy Awards for a variety of mini-series. Her career hit a new high when she starred in If Beale Street Could Talk, which earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

King does have comic book experience. Her turn in HBO’s Watchmen series earned her a fourth Emmy Award and a Peabody Award as well. 

Regina King’s directing experience

Watchmen season 1, episode 2 recap
Regina King on Watchmen. Pic credit: Mark Hill/HBO

While she’s mostly known for her acting, King does have directing experience. Most of it comes from television, directing episodes of the police drama Southland (which she also starred in) as well as This Is Us and Scandal.

King made her feature film directing debut with 2020’s One Night In Miami. The drama was met with critical acclaim, and King was nominated for a Director’s Guild award.

It should be noted that King is merely one of several directors being mentioned for the Superman film. Others rumored to be approached include Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, Steven Caple Jr., J.D. Dillard, and Shaka King.

Warner Bros appears committed to having a black director handle this project. While King may not have the experience of other directors on the list, the fact she’s in the running is a testament to the respect she has in Hollywood.

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