In addition to serving as a continuation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel, Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen provides a unique glimpse at an alternate reality that still deeply mirrors the divisive cultural issues we face in our own reality. In fact, for star Regina King, who plays Angela Abar (Sister Night) on the HBO miniseries, much of her career involves projects of important cultural significance.
After making her acting debut on the hit NBC sitcom 227, from 1895-1990, Regina King transitioned into films with John Singleton’s groundbreaking Boyz n the Hood before collaborating with the late filmmaker again on Poetic Justice and Higher Learning. Prior to her Academy Award win for director Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, King won three Emmys, two for the ABC anthology series American Crime and one for Netflix miniseries Seven Seconds.
Another fun fact about the actress: her first name translates from Latin to say “queen,” literally making her a “Queen King.” If you care to learn even more about the actress, here are seven things about Regina King that may surprise you.
Regina King Remained In Public School While Starring On 227
Not many child stars get the luxury of having the educational experience of a typical student, but Regina King was one of the lucky ones. When she was cast as Brenda Jenkins on 227 at 14 years old, her mother, a teacher, was concerned that NBC would put King in a smaller, private school where many young TV actors would go, keeping her "out of touch" with the perspective that public education provides, as she recounted in an interview with NPR. King's onscreen mother, Marla Gibbs, understood that concern, convincing her real mother that the set of the hit sitcom was "a good space" for her daughter while attending Westchester High School in Los Angeles.
At One Time, Regina King Aspired To Be A Dentist
Even during her five years on 227, Regina King had originally pursued a career in dentistry, which she recalled during a 2019 appearance on Late Show with Stephen Colbert before adding, "You know how a lot of people, the first the thing they see is the eyes? The first thing I see is the smile." The reveal stemmed from her earlier mention in the conversation that it was not until she was in college (her second year at the University Southern California, to be exact) when she was certain that acting was the right path for her, especially after making her feature film debut in Boyz n the Hood in 1991.
Regina King Was Initially Cast As Just Riley Before Also Voicing Huey On The Boondocks
Another one of Regina King's most notable TV projects is the brutally satirical Adult Swim classic The Boondocks, on which she provides the voice of both Huey and Riley Freeman, two Chicago-born children who move into their grandfather's WASPy suburb. Originally, the actress was only chosen to play Riley, as she explained to BuzzFeed UK, but after being a part of the search for Huey and observing creator Aaron McGruder's notes for the character along the way, King convinced them to give her a shot at both roles.
Regina King’s Tattoo Has An Inspiring Translation And Heartwarming Backstory
For inspiration to play the young Freeman Brothers on The Boondocks, Regina King looked to her son, Ian Alexander, Jr., even if he was too young to watch the series at the time she was cast. When he was older, Alexander suggested he and his mother get matching tattoos by each selecting three Aramaic designs in secret and whichever design they both happened to pick would be the final decision. As King shared during an appearance on The View, the mutual choice turned out to be what translates to "unconditional love," a part of motherhood that the actress has expressed is especially important to her in the past.
Regina King Modeled Her If Beale Street Could Talk Performance From Her Grandmother
Looking to another individual for inspiration is a method Regina King uses often, as Good Morning America host Robin Roberts pointed out when speaking to the her in 2018. The actress then explained how her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins' adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel, was inspired by her own grandmother, describing her as "that woman that made you feel like it was always gonna be okay." King channeled that comforting wisdom into the role of Sharon, whose daughter is pregnant with her imprisoned fiance's child in the film, earning her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Regina King Has A Prolific Career In Directing TV Shows
Regina King is currently focusing on another adaptation important to her, a cinematic take on Kemp Powers' Jim Crow-era stage play One Night in Miami, but from behind the camera. While the period piece will mark her big screen directorial debut, she has several directing credits to her name already from TV projects. Starting with an episode of crime drama Southland, for which she was also a series regular, King went onto helm episodes of Scandal, This Is Us, Shameless, and, most recently, Issa Rae's Emmy-nominated comedy series Insecure.
Regina King Received A Sneak Peek Of Her Watchmen Character With The Pilot Script
Admittedly, Regina King had no prior affinity for the story of Watchmen when she was offered a role in the miniseries continuation by Damon Lindelof, whom she had previously worked with on The Leftovers. She did, however, receive a strong idea of her costumed vigilante character when she first read the script, which included an envelope with a note instructing her not open it until she reached a certain page. As she recalled on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she "did not cheat" and waited to open the envelope, which revealed an artist's rendering of Sister Night in full costume, complete with her face on the character.