Since the start of her career in the late 1990s, Regina Hall had been the kind of actress who maybe didn’t have the pull to get films made, but whose vital, unshowy performances very often made the films in which she appeared. Then came the surprise one-two of 2017’s hit comedy “Girls Trip” and 2018’s critically acclaimed indie “Support the Girls” and, with it, something akin to breakout stardom. “It feels like a culmination,” she said of this new phase of her professional life. “I didn’t always want to be the auxiliary character.”
Now Hall, 48, is at the heart of Showtime’s Wall Street satire “Black Monday” and will also co-star in the highly anticipated film comedy “Little,” with Issa Rae, which will be released in April, and in a “Shaft” sequel, in June. “I’m potentially in a position,” Hall told me with the guarded optimism of a late bloomer, “where I could become more of a force.”
The industry is treating you differently now than it used to, but it’s not as if you’re more talented than you were, say, five years ago. Is that disconnect — between where your career is and where your skill level has always been — hard to wrap your head around?
“Girls Trip” made a lot of money, which matters, and then the critics were so responsive to “Support the Girls.” It’s weird. I’ve always had steady work, but I guess there are lists in Hollywood. I was on the top of one before; now I’m on the bottom of a more difficult one.
How would you characterize the difference between those lists?
There are certain films with predominantly black casts. The list of who’s considered for parts in those is a whole different one than the list of who’s considered for films with roles that could be played by anybody. I remember there was a script that I read that I loved, and my agent told me, “They went after Amy Adams, and she’s not doing it.” And I said, “I’ll do it!” And he was like, “They love you, but they’re going to Natalie Portman.” “Oh, right.” There’s always another.
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