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Shirley: 7 Quick Things We Know About Regina King’s Upcoming Netflix Movie

Regina King in The Harder They Fall
(Image credit: Netflix)

Regina King has made a career out of playing strong, fiercely independent women whose refusal to back down is an inspiration to audiences around the world. That being said, the Academy Award winner’s next project, the Netflix exclusive Shirley, will be another great addition to the list that also includes If Beale Street Could Talk, Watchmen, and The Harder They Fall

If this is the first you are hearing of the upcoming biographical drama about the groundbreaking United States Congresswoman and one-time Presidential nominee Shirley Chisholm, don’t worry, because we have plenty of information on the upcoming release, including its cast, what it’s about, and how Chisholm’s impact can still be felt 50 years after she changed the political landscape.

Regina King in The Harder They Fall; Lance Reddick in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum; Lucas Hedges in Let Them All Talk

(Image credit: Netflix; Lionsgate; HBO)

The Shirley Cast Includes Regina King, Lance Reddick, Lucas Hedges And More

When Shirley lands on Netflix at some point in the near future, it will feature a cast headlined by Regina King, who will be taking on the role of Shirley Chisholm. Joining her in the star-studded cast will be Lance Reddick (John Wick, The Wire), Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea, Let Them All Talk), Christina Jackson (Swagger, The Good Fight), Michael Cherrie (Home Again, Limbo), Dorian Missick (For Life, Lucky Number Slevin), Amirah Vann (Underground, Queen Sugar), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood, There’s Something About Mary), André Holland (Passing, Moonlight), and Terrence Howard (Empire, Iron Man).

Only Regina King’s role has been revealed at this time, but expect to hear more about who the other stars will be playing, as well as any other additions to the cast, in the coming weeks and months.

Shirley Chisholm in an interview with Florida Community College at Jacksonville

(Image credit: Florida Community College at Jacksonville)

Shirley Will Center On Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s Groundbreaking 1972 Presidential Campaign

In terms of inspirational true stories, it doesn’t get much better than that of Shirley Chisholm, and that’s what the movie will dive into. According to Netflix, Shirley will be an “intimate portrayal of the trailblazing political icon” and will center on her 1972 presidential campaign, which was the first time a Black woman sought the highest office in the country. This campaign came just a few years after Chisholm was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 12th District and became the first Black woman to serve in Congress.

Shirley is based on a series of extensive and exclusive interviews with the late Congresswoman’s family, friends, and other important people in her life. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Shirley Is Helmed By 12 Years A Slave Writer John Ridley

Leading the creative charge behind Shirley and the film’s inspirational story is Academy Award winner John Ridley, who took home an Oscar in 2013 for adapting the story that would become 12 Years a Slave. Ridley’s feature film directing credits include Cold Around the Heart, Jimi: All Is by My Side, and the 2017 documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles: 1982-1992

This will not be the first time John Ridley has worked with Regina King on a project, as he wrote and directed multiple episodes of ABC's crime anthology series, American Crime, during the show’s three-season run.

Regina King on Watchmen

(Image credit: HBO)

Regina King Has Said Shirley Chisholm’s ‘Fearless Determination’ Has Long Been An Inspiration

When Shirley was first announced in February 2021, Regina King, who is also serving as a producer through her Royal Ties Productions, described Shirley Chisholm as an “inspiration” in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter):

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.

Adding to that, writer-director John Ridley explained in an accompanying statement that he was thankful he had been given the opportunity to help tell the story of Shirley Chisholm, who he considers a “truly remarkable individual.”

Netflix logo

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix Landed The Rights To Shirley In December 2021

Over the course of the past decade, Netflix has acquired more than a few thought-provoking films based on the real life stories of individuals who broke the mold with a new of way of thinking and pioneering actions. And, now that streak looks like it will continue, as it will be the home of Regina King’s Shirley. In December 2021, Deadline announced that the streaming giant had landed John Ridley’s upcoming feature length film. As mentioned earlier, Shirley was first announced in February 2021 and is being produced by Participant and Royal Ties Productions, which was founded by King and her sister Reina.

There is no word on when Netflix plans on releasing Shirley, and it is not yet known if the steaming giant will give the movie a brief theatrical run like it has done with some of its other major releases the past few years.

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

(Image credit: Mirror Releasing)

Production On Shirley Is Underway In Regina King’s Hometown Of Cincinnati

It’s not everyday an actor gets to return to their hometown to film their latest project, but that just so happens to be the case for Regina King, who is returning to Cincinnati, Ohio, for production on Shirley. In December 2021, the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper reported that the Queen City’s Academy Award-winning native and the rest of the cast and crew would descend upon the city later that month to begin shooting the highly-anticipated biographical drama. The publication reported that local casting began the previous month. 

At this time there is no word on how long the shoot will take place or if other locations will be used in addition to Cincinnati. 

Regina King in The Harder They Fall

(Image credit: Netflix)

A Shirley Production Company Will Lead A Campaign To Advance Civic Engagement And Social Justice

When Netflix announced that it would be releasing Shirley at some point in the future, the company pointed out that Participant, one of the two production companies working on the project, would be leading a campaign to advance civic engagement and social justice timed to the film’s release. No concrete details were provided at the time, but Participant does have a history of carrying out similar campaigns with its releases. 

The Participant website features information and calls to action for its previous releases, including the Oscar-winning drama Judas and the Black Messiah, the COVID-19 documentary Totally Under Control, and several other notable projects.

Expect to hear more about Shirley in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, take a look at our list of all the upcoming Netflix movies scheduled for release in 2022. 

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.