LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Regina King won an Academy Award earlier this year for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk. Now, "Academy Award winner Regina King" will appear on HBO's new series, Watchmen.
Lost and The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof decided to adapt the comic book, which also was the basis of a 2009 movie for HBO. King already had chosen Watchmen before she was nominated for an Oscar.
"The universe has my back," King said at WarnerMedia's party for the Television Critics Association. "We shot the pilot before last year's Emmys. I had just finished the pilot and I hadn't even had an Emmy nomination for Seven Seconds yet. So I'm just continuing on track, reading things and doing things that speak to me. I had no way of knowing it would be the run that it was."
King does chalk it up to something beyond herself that she went from the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Seven Seconds to an Oscar-winning movie to a new series for HBO.
"I know I did not make a deal with the devil," King said. "I must have done something good in a past life, but it was not the plan. That the plan ended up landing this way, I could not be more grateful and more excited."
It wasn't just the legacy of the Watchmen comic book, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, that sold King on the series. She had worked with Lindelof on The Leftovers, as well as director Nicole Kassell.
"I wouldn't have done it with just anybody," King said. "It needed to be a Damon."
Being on the same network as The Sopranos and Game of Thrones also enticed King.
"I've worked on a lot of different networks and they've all been good to me and I've been a part of great storytelling, but we all know HBO has this prestige that comes along with the network," King said. "You can just kind of feel like OK, they're going to make sure that it gets done and gets done well and gets done right."
The Watchmen comics and film took place in an alternate 1985 in which American history took a different path after the emergence of superheroes. There is an alternate universe in which King never became an actor and never won Emmys and Oscars. Her role on the sitcom 227 changed everything.
"When I got that job, I still wanted to be a dentist," King said. "It took that experience of being in that [show] for five years and then going to college and going, 'Yeah, this acting thing is for me. I think I'm gonna drop out, mom. I hope you're OK with that.' She wasn't, but it all worked out."
Lindelof has set the HBO series in present-day 2019 and uses the parallel Watchmen world to explore issues like race. King plays Angela Abar, a police officer in a world where it is so unsafe for police that all of them wear masks. By day, Angela's cover is that she's retired from the force and runs a bakery. Secretly, she's still a masked officer.
"I think she's definitely much more of a skeptic," King said. "I think she does not take anything for face value. There's always an ulterior motive. I think she kind of marches to that beat, whereas myself, I probably don't even think about it that hard. Whoever you are is who you are."
Watchmen's diverse cast also includes African Americans Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Louis Gossett Jr. and Thai actress Hong Chau. King says she's not shy about bringing up issues of representation with Lindelof either.
"I think it's a conversation," King said. "You ask pointed questions. I try not to be concerned with if they feel uncomfortable about the question. I just want to hear the answer. From there is when trust starts to form."
To his credit, King says Lindelof has welcomed questions.
"I'm not really interested in a creator who wants to be 'all me, I don't want anybody else's ideas,'" King said.
Now, King hopes her Oscar win will bring more eyes onto Watchmen.
"I feel like those awards for me personally are good real estate to use to take to do the next thing," King said. "Most people that win an Oscar or Emmy, are not just [saying], 'I don't have to do anything else now.' I think they're using that as cache to go into the next thing. That's kind of the point."
Watchmen premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.