Actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. stars as the late, legendary soul singer Sam Cooke in Regina King‘s directorial debut, One Night in Miami.

Odom understood portraying such an iconic character was a real challenge.  

“Playing Sam Cooke was some big shoes to fill. It was a challenge and an honor,” said Odom in a statement. “I have such respect and admiration and awe for his talent and what he was able to achieve. The movie is so special to me. Sam Cooke is dear to us all. We tried to hide that in the song we wrote.”

The Hamilton star got a chance to showcase his amazing vocal capabilities on the film’s soundtrack in the poignant song, “Speak Now.”

“In ‘Speak Now’ we’ve called out to young people,” Odom continued. “It is an urgent call to action – to speak – set alongside our urging them to first listen. Listen…and then speak.”

“Speak Now” was co-written by Grammy-nominated vocalist Sam Ashworth specifically for the film. Based on Kemp Powers’ 2013 play, One Night in Miami details a fictional encounter on the night of February 25, 1964, during which Cassius Clay, who became Muhammad Ali, celebrated his boxing victory against Sonny Liston with Cooke, Malcolm X and NFL star Jim Brown at a Miami hotel.

One Night In Miami arrives in select U.S. theaters today and will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime January 15th.

By Rachel George
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