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Regina King to play Shirley Chisholm in upcoming movie

Regina King, left, is set to play pioneering

Regina King, left, is set to play pioneering New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm in an upcoming film.  Credit: Composite: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison, left; AP (1971)

Academy Award winner Regina King will star as the late New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in Congress, in the feature film "Shirley."

Participant Media announced Wednesday that fellow Oscar winner John Ridley (Adapted Screenplay, "12 Years a Slave") will write and direct. Chisholm, who additionally was the first African American to seek a major-party presidential nomination, demonstrated a "fearless determination [that] has been an inspiration to so many of us, and with this film we hope to inspire many generations to come," said King, 50, in a statement.

Added Ridley, 55, "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."

Produced in conjunction with the Chisholm Estate, "Shirley" is expected to begin production this year. In addition to her Oscar for "If Beale Street Could Talk" (2018), King has four Emmy Awards, most recently for the 2020 HBO miniseries "Watchmen." Danai Gurira ("The Walking Dead," "Black Panther") was cast in the title role of a rival film, "The Fighting Shirley Chisholm," after Viola Davis left the project.

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