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November 2007
An Exclusive Interview with Regina King

An Exclusive Interview with Regina King

By Wilson Morales

November 19, 2007

There are many people who have tried to make a move to films from television and have had less success, but there are a few who have made that journey to great achievement. Just like Will Smith, Regina King has made a successful transition from the small screen to feature film. Over twenty years ago, King started out on television playing Marla Gibbs’ daughter Brenda on the TV series 227. When the show ended in 1990, King hit the film world in force with roles in a lot of urban films such as ‘Boyz N The Hood’, ‘Poetic Justice’, ‘Higher Learning’ and ‘Friday’ and ‘A Thin Line Between Love and Hate’; but it wasn’t until King played Cuba Gooding Jr.’s wife in ‘Jerry Maguire’ with Tom Cruise that Hollywood really noticed her.

Since then King has starred in plenty of films when most if her peers are still struggling to get an audition. From ‘A Cinderella Story’, to ‘Miss Congeniality 2’ with Sandra Bullock to her performance in ‘Ray’ opposite Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, King has played a strong willed character. For her next role in ‘This Christmas’, King will play a role opposite of what we normally see her in. While still sassy, the brick is certainly not on her shoulder. King plays one of many family members who come home to celebrate Christmas with their mom, played by Loretta Devine, and within the household, there are problems that need to be solved.

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Regina she talked about her role in the film and being in the business for so long.

What attracted you to this film?

Regina King: First and foremost, Delroy (Lindo), Loretta (Devine) and Idris (Elba) were attached when they asked if I would interested in doing the movie so that was a major attraction for me; and I also felt that I would love to do a family movie but a Black family movie that is not a ‘Black’ family movie. Something that is universal but a Black family. Those two things were probably the biggest reasons.

With so many films to your credit, I can’t believe you hadn’t done a Black family movie.

RK: No, I hadn’t. I’ve done films with an Black cast. The closest film would probably be ‘How Stella Got Her Back’ and I’ve done films where people can bring their kids like ‘Daddy Day Care’ and ‘Cinderella Story’, but not a film that was family.

Can you talk about Christmas in LA?

RK: Christmas in LA really does exist. The thing is that unlike East Coast people, we get to ride our bikes on Christmas Day. East coast folks have to ride them in the basement because it’s snowing outside.

Did you and your fellow cast mates bond throughout the shooting of the film?

RK: No, actually I wouldn’t say that I talked to everyone all the time. Some people I talked to more than others; but it is a familiarity that everyone has and we see each other, we miss each other. There were no relationships on this set where people were bumping heads. I don’t think any love relationships developed, unless somebody is not telling me something. Everybody walked away feeling like brothers and sisters.

Was any part of this film anything you have experienced?

RK: No. My family doesn’t get haywire during Christmas. I can relate to little aspects of every character that I can identify.

Of all the characters in the films, you were the only one who had more outside scenes than anyone else.

RK: I know. I was the one that was caught in the cold. I had probably just as many scenes inside as outside. I don’t know if it was planned that way, but it was like a metaphor, because she had alienated herself from the family and it took her family to bring her back to herself and it was interesting that there were a lot of outside scenes that she was placed in. It all came back to the home in the end.

Can you talk about the fight scene between you and Sharon (Leal)?

RK: That was a one take shot because of the hair situation, all three of us, including Lauren (London) sat down with the producer Clint Culpepper and really went through the beats because we didn’t want to make it silly but we wanted to have some bit of comedy without it having look slapstick and it was all about timing. Once water hits your hair, it’s a whole hour process. We all had weaves, but we still had our hair out.

You have a scene where we see more of you than ever before on the big screen. Did you heavily about that shooting that scene?

RK: Yes and no. I’m not really that bathing suit girl, but I’m that bathing suit girl in another country or with family, but I’m not the one at a pool party with a bathing suit (bikini). It was a moment where I can be a little bit sexy than most people see of Regina King.

There’s a scene that most will talk about and that it involves baby oil. Where did you get the idea for this?

RK: I had heard about someone doing that and I felt that she needed to have that moment at the end of this awful journey she’s been. She’s been rob of so many years. She says things like the giving up of her family and this woman has been giving up herself to please others for so long; and she is mad. She’s mad at herself. She’s mad at her man. She is just angry.

Most of the characters you have played over the years have been of a strong willed woman, and this one was a bit of the opposite. Did you think about that for a moment, having to play a woman weaker than previous roles?

RK: Oh definitely. I gravitate towards strong characters obviously, but I have always said that I would like to play a submissive character, but if I do, it needs to be some type of reward in the end. She has to change. There has to be an arc and this character was that. There were moments that were very hard to me, the submissive moments, like cutting up my husband’s food, and it was hard for me to get my mind around that and Preston (Whitmore) said that one of his sisters did that. A lot of scenes within the film are pulled from real life experiences that actually happened and were written into the story.

As someone who been in the business for years and has had bigger roles in films than most of fellow females peers, are you in a position to guide others towards your path and your success?

RK: Yes. I give my honest opinion and advice, but I’m not in the habit of sticking my nose where it hasn’t been asked to be stuck in.

What’s next for you?

RK: I’m taking a much needed relaxing period.

THIS CHRISTMAS opens on November 21, 2007



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