Film & TVMusic

Colman Domingo Takes the Helm as Director and Lead Actor in Upcoming Nat King Cole Biopic


Variety reports that Colman Domingo is slated to portray the legendary singer Nat King Cole in a movie musical, which he co-wrote and will mark his feature directing debut.

Nat King Cole, a towering figure in 20th-century music, emerged as a jazz and pop vocalist in the late 1930s, recording a plethora of chart-topping hits such as “Unforgettable,” “Smile,” and “Let There Be Love,” and selling over 50 million records. He posthumously received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy Awards in 1990 and was honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

While the specific period of Cole’s life that Domingo’s film will spotlight remains undisclosed, one of the most poignant moments occurred on April 10, 1956: during a performance before an all-white audience in Birmingham, Ala., Cole was attacked onstage by four white men. Despite the harrowing experience, he courageously returned to finish his set, earning a 10-minute standing ovation from the remaining audience members.

Domingo’s involvement with projects centered on Nat King Cole isn’t new. He previously co-wrote the play “Lights Out: Nat ‘King’ Cole” with Patricia McGregor, which premiered at the Geffen Playhouse. This play delves into Cole’s mindset during his 1957 Christmas special on “The Nat King Cole Show,” a groundbreaking program that marked the first time an African American hosted a network show.

Domingo, who has been quietly working on the musical for several years, eagerly anticipates bringing it to fruition.

This announcement follows Domingo’s recent Oscar nomination for best actor for his portrayal of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin in George C. Wolfe’s “Rustin,” and his casting as Jackson 5 family patriarch Joe Jackson in an upcoming biopic helmed by Antoine Fuqua.

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