For whatever reason King and Team Amazon decided to release a 65-second clip instead, and one that’s not all that stirring.
60% of it sidesteps the basic thrust of the film (four famous African-American cultural figures — Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown — hash out the the state of American blackness) in favor of a familiar-sounding boast by Eli Goree‘s Clay, crooning about his boxing victory over Sonny Liston and preening in front of a mirror. The remaining 40% is about Kingsley Ben-Adir‘s Malcolm explaining in a low-key way that the evening’s agenda isn’t about partying but self-reflection. Fine, but we wanted a serving of what the film is altogether — visually, rhetorically, spiritually.
Compare this to a 2015 trailer [below] for a 2015 Denver Center for the Performing Arts production of Kemp Powers‘ stage play. More comprehensive, crackling energy. I’m sorry but Hollywood Elsewhere feels let down. Please assemble a tasty, crafty teaser, guys. And what about a release date?
L.A. friendo who’s seen it: “Very well written, good for what it is, and Leslie Odom, Jr.’s performance as Sam Cooke is the keeper. But Clayton Davis isn’t doing Regina King’s film any favors by over-hyping it. It’s not the Second Coming.”