Oscar-, Golden Globe- and four-time Emmy-winner Regina King is set to star in and produce “Shirley,” the feature film biopic about Shirley Chisholm, America’s first Black congresswoman.
The film, produced by Participant, will be written and directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker John Ridley, with production expected to begin later this year. The story tracks Chisholm’s 1972 presidential campaign, a groundbreaking historical moment, giving what’s described as “an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the most ground-breaking political leaders of our time.”
“Shirley Chisholm’s fearless determination has been an inspiration to so many of us, and with this film we hope to inspire many generations to come,” King said in a statement. “To collaborate once again with my friend and mentor, John Ridley, and the team at Participant, makes this decade-long journey even sweeter.”
The historic project comes during a big year for the star, who picked up her fourth Emmy for “Watchmen” in and made her feature directorial debut with “One Night in Miami,” for which she’s in the running to become the first Black woman nominated for best director at the Oscars. In addition to starring as the trailblazing political icon, King will also produce the project under her Royal Ties Productions banner with Reina King. Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren will executive produce.
Ridley added: “Regina’s passion for bringing a complete and very human portrait of Shirley to life has been evident since literally the day we first met. I’m very thankful to both Regina and Reina trusting me to partner in telling the story of this truly remarkable individual.”
The film is being produced based on the life story rights through an exclusive agreement with the Chisholm Estate.
“Shirley Chisholm’s life as a politician and her groundbreaking career in Washington is a critical part of American history that is far too often overlooked,” Participant CEO David Linde added. “We are thrilled to partner with John, Regina, Reina and a tremendously talented creative team to share the story of this remarkable woman with audiences everywhere.”
King is represented by ICM Partners, John Carrabino Management and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman. Ridley is represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Rohner & Walerstein.