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What Regina King From Legally Blonde 2 Is Doing Now

In 2003, Reese Witherspoon executive produced and starred in a sequel to her 2001 smash hit film, "Legally Blonde," called "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde." The story starts shortly after the events of the first film, with Witherspoon's character Elle Woods on a quest to find her Chihuahua Bruiser's mother, so that she can be there at the wedding of Elle and Emmett (Luke Wilson). When she finds out that Bruiser's mother is being used for cosmetic testing, Elle ventures to Washington D.C. to push for a bill that would stop animal testing.

Of course, it's not easy to get a bill in front of Congress, so Elle looks for help from various politicians. She finds surprising aid in the form of Grace Rossiter, played by Regina King, the Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Victoria Rudd (Sally Field). After Grace overhears Rudd admit that she's working to stop "Bruiser's Bill" due to her sponsors' interests, she and Elle find common ground, and soon enough they're working together to bring the bill to the floor of the House. While "Legally Blonde 2" was not as successful as the original film, either critically or at the box office, Witherspoon is as charming as ever as Elle, and King is a surprising delight. King recently even admitted to Entertainment Weekly that she would love to return to the franchise in the upcoming "Legally Blonde 3," but it's unclear if she will.

So what exactly has King been up to since then? Well, she certainly isn't slacking, and over the past few years she's quickly become one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Regina King is making her mark on the TV crime genre

After "Legally Blonde 2," King continued with various film roles, while also starting to focus more on television. She joined Season 6 of "24," the crime drama starring Kiefer Sutherland as former federal agent Jack Bauer, playing a character named Sandra Palmer. Sandra is the attorney for the Islamic-American Alliance, and both of her brothers, Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside) and David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), serve as the President of the United States at some point during the show. In her position as legal counselor, Sandra tries to protect the Islamic-American Alliance from the government's control, while she also has a close romantic relationship with Walid Al-Rezani (Harry Lennix), the regional director of the organization.

Around the same time, King took on a starring role in the critically-acclaimed police drama "Southland," which focuses on a group of detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department. The series has a 90% Rotten Tomatoes score as an average of all five seasons, which ran from 2009 to 2013. King plays Detective Lydia Adams, a skilled investigator who works on robbery and homicide cases. She initially partners with Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott), a close friend and trusted coworker. When Russell is injured on the job and recovering, Lydia has to go through a few temporary partners, some of whom she clashes with, as she continues investigating many brutal cases throughout LA. King's first directing job was an episode of "Southland" called "Off Duty," the fifth episode of Season 5.

King finds her voice in The Boondocks

Created by Aaron McCruder, "The Boondocks" is an adult animated series based on the comic strip of the same name, that ran on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late night programming block from 2005 to 2014. In her second voice role ever, King portrays the two lead characters, Huey and Riley Freeman, two young brothers raised by their grandfather, Robert "Grandad" Freeman, voiced by the late John Witherspoon. Unafraid to take on any and all tough topics of the time, "The Boondocks" led to some controversy over the years, but overall it's praised for its satire and spotlight on the Black perspective. One episode of the series, "The Return of the King," even won a Peabody Award.

Huey is the main character of "The Boondocks," an intelligent 10-year-old who is very outspoken about politics, social justice, and many other issues. On top of that, he's also an almost unbeatable kung-fu fighter. Meanwhile, Riley is his unruly 8-year-old brother who is obsessed with rap and hip hop. He spends most of his time creating crazy schemes or trying to act like the rappers he so strongly admires. In 2019, it was announced that "The Boondocks" would be returning for at least two seasons on HBO Max, with the official Instagram listing a release date of 2022. As of right now, it's unclear if King will be returning as the voice of Huey and Riley, and the series will have to cast someone new as Grandad.

The actress is winning awards for roles in prestige dramas

After "The Boondocks," King nabbed the role of Erika Murphy in "The Leftovers," a standout in Season 2 of the HBO series. But King isn't one to settle, and soon after she moved on up to star in the lauded anthology drama "American Crime." While each season features King playing a different character in a new story, it's clear that her talent never wavers, as she won an Emmy for Seasons 1 and 2, and was nominated for Season 3. 

King then joined 2018's "Seven Seconds," a Netflix miniseries about a white police officer who hits a Black teenage boy with his car and leaves him to die, sparking a cover-up by the police department. King plays Latrice Butler, the mother of the boy who died, while Russell Hornsby plays her husband, Isaiah. The parents deal with their grief and trauma in different ways, with Latrice questioning her faith and sanity as she works to uncover who is behind her son's death. The role landed King another Emmy. 

Released on Christmas of the same year, King played Sharon Rivers in the 1970s-set "If Beale Street Could Talk," Barry Jenkins' highly anticipated follow-up to "Moonlight." The film is based on James Baldwin's book of the same name and focuses on a pregnant young woman who must prove her partner's innocence before their child is born, facing rampant racism and a failing justice system. 2018 was clearly a great year for King, as she won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her role in the film, and then a year later, King's role as Angela Abar, a.k.a. Sister Night, in HBO's "Watchmen" series earned her another Emmy.

King is making history behind the camera

As a woman who's already made a huge mark on history, there's apparently no stopping King, and she keeps moving on to bigger and better things. In 2020, King transitioned to behind the camera to executive produce and direct her first full-length, theatrically-released movie, "One Night in Miami..." Based on the 2013 stage play of the same name by Kemp Powers — who also wrote the film screenplay — the story is a fictional account of a very real meeting that occurred between four friends on February 25, 1964 (Biography.com). The film focuses on Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) played by Eli Goree, Malcolm X, played by Kingsley Ben-Adir, American football player Jim Brown, played by Aldis Hodge, and singer/songwriter Sam Cooke, played by Leslie Odom Jr., who were all good friends in real life. In the film, the four get together that night to celebrate Clay's win over Sonny Liston (Aaron D. Alexander), and as the hours pass, the men clash over personal beliefs, reflect on their pasts, and ruminate about the future. 

"One Night in Miami..." premiered at the Venice Film Festival, making history as the first film directed by an African-American woman to be selected for the festival (The Guardian). King then nabbed a Best Director nomination at the Golden Globes, nominated alongside Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell. This nomination also made history, as it was the first time the Golden Globes nominated two or more female directors in the same year. In an interview with E!, King noted how "it's bittersweet, the fact that it's 2021 and this is just happening and that this is the conversation," but overall it's still an amazing accomplishment worth noting (via The Hollywood Reporter). Zhao ended up taking home the award, becoming the second woman ever to win Best Director. With this year's nominees, only eight women have ever been nominated in the category. 

Next up for King, she just finished shooting the upcoming Western "The Harder They Fall," and is in pre-production for her next directing gig, "Bitter Root."