Participant has announced that John Ridley will write and direct the biopic Shirley with Regina King attached to star as Shirley Chisholm, the U.S.'s first Black Congresswoman. King is also set to produce alongside Reina King of Royal Ties Productions with Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren executive producing. Production on the project will begin later this year.
"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," Regina King said in a statement to TheWrap. "To collaborate once again with my friend and mentor, John Ridley, and the team at Participant, makes this decade-long journey even sweeter."
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."
Shirley centers on the Chisholm's presidential campaign in 1972. The movie also serves as a biopic for Shirley Chisholm after Participant acquired her life story rights through an exclusive agreement with the late politician's estate. Per TheWrap, the movie offers an "intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the most ground-breaking political leaders of our time during a seminal period in modern American history."
"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," said Participant CEO David Linde. "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 an accomplished performer, having won an Oscar and the Golden Globe in 2019 for her supporting role in If Beale Street Could Talk. She has also won two Primetime Emmy Awards for starring in the anthology series American Crime and a third for her role in the Netflix miniseries Seven Seconds. Because three just wasn't enough, King went on to win a fourth Emmy for her starring role in Watchmen. More recently, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Director for her new movie One Night in Miami.
Ridley has previously worked with King as the creator and showrunner of American Crime. The filmmaker is also known for writing the hit movie 12 Years a Slave which won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In 2017, he produced and directed the documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 about the years preceding and including the infamous 1992 Los Angeles riots. With a perfect approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, the documentary has received universal acclaim.
News of King's casting in Shirley comes days after she made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut. Because Regina has a habit of killing it everywhere she goes, combined with what we've seen previously from Ridley as well, there's no doubt that Shirely will be a must-see movie. This news comes to us from TheWrap.