Three-time Emmy Award-winning actress Regina King just earned her first Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in honor of her powerful performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. King portrays the nurturing mother Sharon Rivers who supports her daughter, Tish, in an unforgiving world. “There are parts of [Sharon] that remind me of probably the combination of my aunts, my mother, and my grandmother. Sharon was a very strong woman,” King told Movie Roar.

Director Barry Jenkins’ romantic drama is set in Harlem in the early 1970s and is based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name. King was initially supposed to meet the Moonlight director as soon as she finished reading the script but instead wanted to read the book as well despite her agent telling her it wasn’t necessary to do so. “I never met [Jenkins], but I think he’s a cat that would appreciate that I do want to read the book, and he’ll make the time. And that was the case,” she said.

Kiki Layne, who plays Tish in the film, described what it was like to work so closely with King. “She’s just so naturally truthful, and you can just witness her really living in all of these things. And so then as she is so in it and so truthful and so honest, then I found myself falling into it with her, just because of her natural energy. So, yeah, it still blows my mind I’m in a movie with Regina King,” she told Fox 5 DC.

King has enjoyed a career in the performing arts for over three decades. Starting at an early age, she studied acting under the coach and actress Betty A. Bridges, Todd Bridges’ mother, for ten years. Her acting debut came in 1985 as she portrayed teenager Brenda Jenkins in the NBC sitcom 227. From there, the Los Angeles native went on to act in several television and film roles including Northern Exposure, Boyz n the Hood, and Friday. But it was her role as  Marcee Tidwell, the wife of Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s character in Jerry Maguire, that garnered the attention of wider audiences.

King went on to receive three Primetime Emmy Awards–two for playing Terri LaCroix and Aliyah Shadeed in the ABC anthology American Crime, and one more for the role of Latrice Butler in the Netflix miniseries Seven Seconds. Her work in American Crime and Seven Seconds likewise earned her Golden Globe nods.

The 48-year-old actress’ other roles include a recurring role as Janine Davis in The Big Bang Theory, the rhythm and blues singer Margie Hendrix in Ray, Iesha in Poetic Justice, and Grace Rossiter in Legally Blonde 2.

“I’ve tried to be flexible in my career by doing a little bit of everything, and that’s worked for me,” King says. Her can-do spirit led her to branch out to directing various television episodes over the years. Her directing debut came in 2013 with an episode of Southland, and she’s followed it up with Shameless, Scandal, This Is Us, and Insecure.

When it comes to wearing the two hats of actor and director, King says, “One informs the other. As an actor, you respect what a director has to carry with him or her throughout. As an actor, you come in and you’re a part–it’s more of the selfish part of the filmmaking process or storytelling process. And as a director, you’re thinking about everyone’s story, and you’re thinking about how to convey what you see and what you want of your production designer and your d.p. And you respect that so much more as an actor when you land on set. You’re, as an actor, like, ‘Just tell me what you need!’”

Because of her filmmaking experience, King considers herself more as a facilitator with directors; she’s determined to work as efficiently as possible to help support their vision. “As a director, you definitely appreciate actor-directors because they do help move the day,” the star told BlackTree TV.

King will star in the upcoming original HBO series Watchmen that will air later this year.

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