“A lot of people did not watch Watchmen when it actually aired so they are watching it now while they are quarantining or while they are isolating,” Regina King said during Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees all-day event, regarding the nine-episode run of the now almost prophetic Damon Lindelof-created series.
“You have people who are watching it for the first time during the pandemic, after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and being more aware of the history of police brutality, violence against Black Americans, and so they are receiving it through a different lens,” the Oscar-winning and three-time Emmy winning King added of Watchmen’s confrontation with white supremacy, masked heroes and villains, and the often-hidden evils of America’s history.
“Their wow is, ‘I can’t believe this show is right on time’ … it’s kind of like an anthropology study in many ways,” she added.
The Peabody Award-winning show ran from October 20-December 15, 2019 on the premium cabler. Among Watchmen’s 26 nominations for this year’s Emmys, King is up for a well-deserved Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, and the widely acclaimed show itself is up for Outstanding Limited Series.
As I wrote in my October 19 review of Watchmen, Lindelof’s “self-described ‘remix’ of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s palpitating and iconic comic series from the 1980s doesn’t seek to dissect the superhero genre as much as dig up the brutal roots in the American soil.” I added of the self-contained first and likely only season: “Once again making it clear that she is one of the great actors of our time, King strides into that morass as the scarred Angela Abar, a Tulsa detective who carries out masked justice as Sister Night. To that end, there are a fair number of expertly choreographed fight scenes where an African-American woman kicks the crap out of racist asswipes in a way that should make everyone’s ancestors proud.”
Today, in a bitterly divided America that has been scarred by the COVID-19 crisis in recent months and forced to confront its vile original sin of racism after the killing of Floyd and Taylor by cops unrestrained in their brutality, Watchmen’s kick has only increased in its power.
As Tinseltown heads towards the Emmys ceremony on September 20, King is currently in postproduction on her feature directorial debut One Night in Miami. Focusing on a fictional 1964 meet-up between the boxing legend then still named Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Malcolm X, the film based on Kemp Powers’ play is scheduled to make its world premiere next month at the Venice Film Festival.
Along with King, her Watchmen castmates Jeremy Irons, the Dr. Manhattan-portraying Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Louis Gossett Jr. and Jean Smart are also nominated for Emmys this year. Lindelof is nominated as an executive producer and for co-writing the “This Extraordinary Being” episode.
Check out the video above, and click here to watch all of Sunday’s Contenders TV panels.