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Interview: Regina Hall on ‘Nine Perfect Strangers,’ The End of ‘Black Monday,’ and ‘Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.’

Last summer, Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Regina Hall about being part of a stacked ensemble in Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers. Now, long after the show has finished its run, Hall returns for a slightly longer conversation to reflect on the series as well as the recently-cancelled Black Monday and her starring role opposite Sterling K. Brown in Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. Beware spoilers for the end of Nine Perfect Strangers.

Q: It’s nice to be able to speak with you again. We spoke I think for about four minutes right before the show premiered.

A: Oh, yeah. That was like, what, two years ago? Was it a year and a half ago?

Q: I don’t know that it was that long ago. The show premiered last July, right?

A: Yes. Yes, it did. It premiered last July. It feels like five years. But yes.

Q: You asked me then how much I had seen of the show, and I said I’d only seen three episodes. And you said oh, he’s early, he’s early. I think that’s very true, especially when we come to Carmel because, while every character gets their own surprising route, I think Carmel especially is really at the center of all this. How did you feel about that and ultimately being the culprit?

A: It was great. You know, it’s exciting. I had such an arc with Nicole Kidman. So that was slightly intimidating. But she was so wonderful and generous, so it was great. It was a lot of work. But it’s so much fun as well.

Q: There’s even a shift in Carmel’s eyes, which is very interesting. Was that a big makeup process, or just something that was added digitally afterwards?

A: No, no, I was fitted for the contact. She does go in the bathroom, and I actually did, I went in and put in the contact, the contact lens to have that kind of feel and then in the original scene I actually had it, which is opaque, so you can’t see through it. It was not the easiest to maneuver, but I only had one of them.

Q: Do you like that experience of having that sort of added challenge when you’re performing?

A: Oh, God, no, not in the moment. But afterwards, yes. I think that the things that may make you feel uncomfortable also lend themselves to a lot of times what the character is going through.

Q: It’s been a while since this series aired, but I know that Big Little Lies was also such a hit that had a second season commissioned. Do you think that this is a show that could return for another iteration?

A: I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about that, in that I just thought of it as a limited, but you never know what people do in success. So I don’t know.

Q: Is it something you would want to return for if the opportunity presented itself?

A: If there was a place for Carmel to go, and the writers felt like there was more for her to do, of course, I’d be open to it. It was great. I mean, you expect that from Nicole’s company, from Blossom, and from David Kelley. I think if it was something that they found worth doing, of course I would be open to that.

Q: We also talked about Black Monday a little bit last time, and that has since been canceled. Is that a disappointment, or do you feel like that had a good run with four seasons?

A: It’s bittersweet, because I had so much fun with the cast. I think for all of us, it was like, just adults gone wild. The show was just so much fun to make. The show creators, Jordan and David, and all of our cast members and guest stars, it was a lot of fun. So I think probably the disappointing part is that I’ve missed them all lately.

Q: I had asked you last time about the overlap between Dawn and Carmel as characters. Do you think there are audience members that both shows would appeal to or do you think they’re really relatively different?

A: Well, they appeal to me!

Q: And me!

A: And you! Then I’ll say, yeah, we’ve already got two of us.

Q: I’ve appreciated watching your career and seeing that you’ve done a lot of things that really are sometimes comedy rooted in drama or drama rooted in comedy. One of the more recent things that I saw was Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. I think that’s something that initially seems more like Black Monday, but turns out to be a little bit deeper and more serious. What was it like making that film?

A: That was great. I think, just reading the script, it was such an interesting point of view that I’ve not necessarily seen a lot, this couple in the movie. Really, there were so many times, it was the parts that are extremely comedic, and then parts where it goes dramatic, and then parts where it feels kind of dark. I had never met Sterling before we started working together. Well, no, that’s not exactly true. I had met him briefly but I had never worked with him. We had so much fun together. It was a really wonderful experience – and a hot one – in Atlanta. Standing outside dancing on the side of the road, it was a lot of work, but it was so much fun. Really fulfilling.

Q: The film’s world premiere was at Sundance, which is where I saw it, but it’s also going to be coming to theaters and to Peacock, which is interesting. Is it nice to have this film get a streaming home right off the bat?

A: Yeah, I knew everyone involved work so hard. I think that’s the wonderful thing about still, even though we have to do it virtually, being able to have festivals, film festivals, like Sundance, where filmmakers really have a chance to showcase their work on that platform and then are able to showcase it on streaming and in theaters. So yeah, it was really exciting. We certainly didn’t want to be like, no sale, that wouldn’t have felt good, but it felt really rewarding for it to have had such success.

Q: I also know looking at your resume, there’s one show that I see that really stands out to me as something that I remember and I hope other people do too. I mentioned it to Kelly Jenrette when I saw her on the red carpet for WeCrashed. That’s Grandfathered.

A: Yeah! That’s when Kelly and I met. I love Kelly, and John Stamos. I had so much fun with my arc.

Q: I could choose to bring back a few shows, I think that’s one I would. It was fun, and it was sort of just getting started. And I really would have loved to see to see more of that.

A: Me too. I really liked it. And everyone, you work on shows, and what’s so great about the show is the material. But then there’s also just the people involved in making it and behind the scenes, in front of the camera. It’s just a good fun show, a good group of people.

Q: You have another film that was recently released, which is Master, and that’s something completely different. Can you preview that?

A: Yeah, it’s this cult, kind of a horror film. It feels like a thriller, but it’s set in the academic world. It’s set at Ancaster College, which is an Ivy League university, and I play their first black master of the school. You see what’s happening today, what’s happening historically on this other level or realm. It’s really interesting. Mariama Diallo wrote it and directed it, and I think she’s such a talented young woman. That one, it was cold. I just remember running outside, and it’s really cold in the snow. But we had a great cast and a great crew and so much young, fresh talent that was fun to play with. It was a very rich experience, even with the cold.

Q: I appreciate the temperature conversations, it’s good to know now when I watch something of yours, I’ll make sure to pay attention to see what the temperature might have been, and be even more impressed with your performance knowing that.

A: You’ll see it in my eyes. You’ll be like, she looks cold.

Q: I see you have a couple of projects coming up. Can you share anything about those?

A: Yes, I have Honk for Jesus coming out and then Me Time is coming out, with Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg. Right now, I’m shooting, for Peacock as well, The Best Man: The Final Chapter, which is a limited, kind of ending that franchise with all the original cast members and Malcolm Lee. So yeah, I’m in New York. I started off in the cold, but it’s warming up!

Q: Well, I really appreciate you taking some time to speak with me, and looking forward to seeing what you do next.

A: Thank you so much for the support, and talk soon!

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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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