I cannot even be objective right now. I love Regina Hall. I’ve thought she was talented since she portrayed “Candy” on The Best Man and after watching her in a string of box office hits and some pretty hilarious interviews with Kevin Hart in promotion for their film About Last Night, I thought ‘Oh, Regina seems cool…and funny as all get out.’ So naturally, when MadameNoire was offered the opportunity to speak to her, I jumped at it, hoping she’d be as nice and personable chatting as she seemed to be. She definitely was, or is. I left the conversation confirming all those assumptions but also adding intelligent and inspirational to the list. She’s a joy, really. Check out Regina’s thoughts on everything from how her father’s passing made her pursue acting, liberated roles for women of color, becoming an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds fragrance and how she learned to abandon the expectation she had of being married with children at the age of 43 and learning to appreciate life’s journey.
MN: You were actually a journalism major before you got into acting. You said that your father’s passing made you change career paths. When did you know acting was going to be it and why did you make that decision.
Regina Hall: A friend, she’s an actress, introduced me to her manager and I was doing commercials and I actually really did like it. I had taken acting classes, probably like a lot of people, in school. And I think what happened was when my father died– I don’t know I never had experienced someone dying–especially someone close to me. It just made me think of the brevity of life. And I thought about what I remembered being fun and scary. And that’s how I decided. I was always interested in it. It just didn’t necessarily feel like a feasible profession. It still doesn’t and I do it. But at that point I thought it was worth the risk.
It feels like it’s definitely paid off. Tell us how you got from that first role in The Best Man in 1999 to now. It seems like you’re in a movie every other month.
I have a wonderful agent, a wonderful manager. We did The Best Man and then my second film was Love and Basketball and then Scary Movie. And I think with Scary Movie it opened up the avenue for comedy and that allowed me to do roles with a lot of comedians and kind of make a name in that arena. That kept me working steadily. Thankfully, a lot of the movies that I did were successful. Best Man has a sequel. No one expected that. Scary Movie had sequels and Think Like A Man has a sequel. So they’re a lot of movies that have had a lot of longevity. Cable always helps for people to get familiar with you. I think the biggest thing we realized was how important it was to be consistent and to always work on your craftsmanship.
Joan in the movie About Last Night was out there. She did a lot of things. And you said it was important for you as a woman of color to play that role. Do you think black audiences are ready for black female characters who are free and liberated and do what they want without the morality police behind them?
I think women in general are more open. And I think men are. I think studio executives are. It was so great to see that on paper. And the role wasn’t written black. They were actually going to remake the original with an all white cast. I loved that she got to be really, really sexy and unapologetic and kicking up ruckus. And yet there were parts of her that were familiar to all women. I didn’t have anyone saying, ‘Oh, no don’t do that.’ And I felt like she still was a positive representation for women of all colors but black women as well. I felt like she was a spicy woman but she was educated. She was professional. It’s interesting because as provocative as Joan was she really only slept with one man…a bunch of times, but even her promiscuity was unapologetic. I think she was spicy and I loved the opportunity to play that, especially after having played Candace in Think Like A Man, who was a mother and a good mother and a great woman. I think all of those types of women exist and sometimes within all of us. We each get a range, maybe not that extreme but various spectrums of that.