How Regina King's next directorial film connects to her Watchmen role

·2 min read
How Regina King's next directorial film connects to her Watchmen role

Regina King may not have earned an Oscar nomination for her work on One Night in Miami, but she's clearly here to stay as a director.

On Wednesday, her follow-up film was announced: An adaptation of the Image comic Bitter Root. Created by writers David F. Walker and Chuck Brown with artist Sanford Greene, Bitter Root was one of EW's favorite comics of 2019, but even those less familiar with comics should still be excited about this news, because King's follow-up film connects to her award-winning acting performance on HBO's Watchmen.

Set in the 1920s, Bitter Root focuses mostly on the Sangerye family, a clan of monster hunters living in Harlem during the Renaissance and using a mix of scientific know-how and fighting expertise to battle monsters born of hate. Somewhat like HBO's Lovecraft Country, Bitter Root uses supernatural evil to make points about real-life racism. When characters are overwhelmed by hateful prejudice, they turn into monsters called Jinoo, and it falls to the multi-gender, multi-generational Sangeryes to exorcise them and stop their monstrous hatred from spreading further.

Mark Hill/HBO; Image Comics

One character encountered early in the series was specifically transformed by his experience as a Black man during the Tulsa massacre of 1921 — the very same event depicted in the opening minutes of HBO's Watchmen. King has credited the show's take on the Tulsa massacre with getting her interested in Damon Lindelof's version of Watchmen in the first place and taking the role that won her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and an "Entertainer of the Year" cover from this very magazine in 2019. Now, King will be tackling Tulsa from a different angle — as a director rather than a performer.

It's worth noting that Bitter Root writer Walker is also the co-creator of Naomi McDuffie, the newly-minted DC superhero whose adventures are also currently being adapted for the screen — in that case as a show for The CW headed by Ava DuVernay.

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