Regina Hall is celebrating 16 sweet years of success in Hollywood. Her rise to fame began with the part of Brenda Meeks in Scary Movie, which is a parody of the horror, slasher and mystery film genres. Since then, this woman has been dominating in the comedy genre and her list of credits have simply grown with roles in Death at a Funeral, Think Like a Man (the franchise), a reprisal of her role as Candy in The Best Man franchise, About Last Night, and Barbershop: The Next Cut.
Now she’s starring alongside Morris Chestnut (executive producer) in Screen Gems’ When the Bough Breaks. It’s this film where the Washington, D.C.-born artist proves she has the acting chops to helm a psychological thriller.
Playing Laura Taylor, Hall showcases strength and grace. “I had never played a role like this,” she recalls. After having a conversation with one of the studio executives, she decided to go for it. “I read it and loved the script. They told me Morris would be my husband [John Taylor] and they hadn’t found the surrogate [Anna, played by Jaz Sinclair]. I saw Jon Cassar was directing. He is amazing. All the pieces came together.”
The film was both shot and based in New Orleans.
What did you like most about filming in New Orleans?
The same thing everyone loves about New Orleans, the bread pudding. It’s all the food. It was great. The weather was cool. The people in New Orleans are great. It was a perfect character for the movie.
Are there any similarities between Laura and Regina?
I am strong. I have certainly been through losses like Laura. You try not to let them define you even though they affect you. I think she’s someone who doesn’t give up and is determined. She’s passionate about her work. I am passionate about mine. She’s committed and I’m committed. There are themes in the essence of the character that are similar to Regina.
What are Regina’s passions?
I have to say, as I grow older I am really more conscious of what my connection is to the planet and people on the planet. I am really passionate about making those better. I am really passionate about my connection to God and where that service lies. I understand you are blessed to be a blessing. I am always trying to hear the voice of discernment about what to do. That is really kind of exciting for me. Instead of waiting to see what I am going to do next, I get to see what God is going to do next.
What keeps you motivated?
I really do love what I do. I haven’t been in the workforce in 20 years. I wouldn’t know what else to do. I have no work experience. I could probably teach an acting class. Being able to do something that you’re passionate about and enjoy, it’s such a blessing. It’s such a gift. I never take for granted that I am still able to work. As I have gotten older, I know that it sounds like a cliché, but there’s so much wisdom that comes. You are honored when you realize it’s something to be embraced.
Images of women of all ages and types need to be there for young women. There’s beauty in the process of getting older. We are oftentimes bombarded with images of only youth.
The spirit is timeless. I don’t think you can define it in a number. I have friends who have hit their 40s and 50s; I’ve watched magic in their lives. I have watched them bud into new people and still keep all the joy of their youth. I look forward to it. There’s a comfort in your skin and comfort in being OK with who you are, the good and the bad … and knowing that there are the parts that maybe need a little more attention, the more fragile parts.
You mentioned you were in the workforce 20 years ago, what were you doing?
I was waiting tables, trying to get out of the workforce. I don’t even have the experience from then. This has to work at this point.
Duh … I had a job. I was teaching at the College of New Rochelle in New York. I was teaching oral communications, like body language, writing and essays. I had fun. The classes were four hours, one day a week. I still had time to audition and grade papers. I kept getting fired from waitressing because I wasn’t that good at it.
What excites you most now?
I am still excited about work. I am now looking at how to bring other projects to life, producing, which I love to do.
I have a doggy business that I am getting off the ground. It’s scary to build your own business. It will be a lifestyle brand for dogs. We are starting with doggy bags. It’s cute.
I love my bulldog, Zeus; he’s so rotten. I’ve had Zeus for almost 11 years. People are now looking for Zeus when they see me.
What are you and Zeus’ Labor Day plans?
We are going to sleep. My mother will be in town. Maybe we’ll go to the beach and do something fun. It’s a nice time to celebrate the end of summer and the introduction of fall. The seasons — spring and fall — both feel like new beginnings.
What is on your travel bucket list?
Greece, Geneva, the Maldives, Italy, parts of Africa that I haven’t been to. I would love to go to Cape Town. There are so many places I want to go. The world is so huge; I don’t know how I can cover it in a lifetime. I can even think of places here in the U.S. that I haven’t visited with all the amazing sights to see.
I love to travel. I don’t get to see the places I travel to when working.
What is your fitness regimen?
I always switch. At one point, I did yoga. Then I did cycling. I have a trainer that I love and he’s so great. I love hiking. I like Pilates a lot, too. I try to stay active. I am not as consistent when I am shooting because I am a little obsessive about sleep. When I am home, I definitely love to work out.
So, you enjoy hiking?
I do. I like being outside and in nature.
What has been your most adventurous hiking experience?
I did the program The Ranch 4.0. It’s four days of progressive hiking. The first day is four miles. The second day is seven miles. The third day is 10 miles. The fourth day is 14 miles. I don’t remember whose name I cursed and how many names I called them in my head. After I did it, I was so exhilarated. It felt great. It is truly a testament to the human will. You are truly immersed in nature and it’s pretty amazing. We’re so busy in the world with our phones. For those hours, you’re just in the elements. You appreciate life and God’s most delightful gift. At the time, it was trying. I had blisters and I was so mad. But, when you make it, you are proud — I did that!
When the Bough Breaks is in theaters nationwide on Sept. 9, 2016.
Interview by Yvette Caslin
Images by Dallas Logan