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April 2006
SCARY MOVIE 4: An Interview with Regina Hall

Scary Movie 4: An Interview with Regina Hall

April 6, 2006
by Wilson Morales

Having appeared in all 4 films of the “Scary Movie” franchise, Regina Hall has the distinction of being one of the few black actresses to do so and could rival Sigourney Weaver in playing the same character more than once on the big screen. In playing Brenda Meeks, Hall brings her two cents of comedy that her fans come to expect, which is to be witty, a little on the dumb side, and very ghetto. While her last few films (The Honeymooners, King’s Ransom, and Malibu’s Most Wanted) may not have done her justice at the box office, which brought in little fanfare, Hall continues to spice up her resume with new and impressive roles, having completed two films, including the upcoming thriller, “Danika” with Marisa Tomei. In speaking to blackfilm.com, Hall talks about returning to Brenda Meeks in “Scary Movie 4”.

When you think about it, “Scary Movie 4” is your film, your franchise.

Regina Hall: Yeah, it’s exciting. Who knew? We didn’t know in the beginning. It’s a really, wonderful blessing.

How does it feel to come back and play Brenda for the 4th time?

RH: It’s good. It’s fun. The great thing about this movie is that it is what it is. It’s light. I loved working with Anna (Faris) and I get to work with a crew who I know. It’s great and I get to work with David Zucker again.

In working with Mr. Zucker for a second time and having been in all 4 films of the Scary Movie franchise, would you say that you have more input as far as your character?

RH: For the first two films, we had Keenan (Ivory Wayans), and for next two we had David, and the thing is that they are both amazing in the spoof genre; so we have some input, but David has done so much with “Airplane!” and the ‘Naked Gun” series that we had to allow his perspective on the movie too. It was good.

How has Brenda changed over the films?

RH: In this one, you’ll definitely notice it more. She’s not outlandish as before. She’s a little mature and less loud and ghetto fabulous, but still true to Brenda.

How’s your relationship with Anna? Do you keep up with each other normally or do you only see each other when it’s time to make these films?

RH: No, we’re friends outside of the movie.

From Saw to Brokeback Mountain to War of the Worlds to The Village, have you seen the films that “Scary Movie 4” is spoofing?

RH: Yes. Most of them I had already seen and if there any I hadn’t, then I watched them before we started shooting.

How do you bring back that comedic timing to this film?

RH: I don’t know. More importantly, how do you not lose it ever? It just kinda gets natural as soon as you get into character. As soon as I put the braids in, Brenda comes alive and it obviously worked teaming with Anna again. It me familiar with the character and revisit it again and with a different angle each time, it keeps it fresh. I don’t know. It’s natural and instinctive.

With a few additions added to the same cast, did you all get to hang out or did you shoot your separately on different time periods?

RH: No, sometimes we got to do a lot of hanging out. We were in Vancouver for a few months and when people were available we would love to go and vibe. It was raining a lot but we all made friends.

Do you think people still get a kick out of the spoof films, especially when you’re now into the 4th one of this franchise?

RH: I do. The biggest thing is that we always want to keep it fresh and entertaining so that when people watch it, they still get a laugh. I think they do a good job of spacing and reinventing them so that it’s not like, “Oh, here we go again” and there is something that is fresh about it. That’s what’s great about adding cast members to the film.

Does coming back into this role help your career since this is basically yours and Anna’s film as opposed to playing another supporting role in a big ensemble film?

RH: Yes, it’s great. As a black woman, it is so wonderful to be a part of this. There are so few of us that are a part of franchises. To be a part of a franchise that millions of people see and has a built-in audience, but that you were a part of from the beginning. It’s great because it’s not that common.

Seems like every year there’s less roles for black women.

RH: The great thing about the Scary Movie franchise is that I have never been contracted to come back; so it’s always nice to have been invited back.

Prior to this film, we saw you last in “The Honeymooners”, which didn’t do so good at the box office. How do you feel about that?

RH: I think that white people didn’t want to see black people do it and I don’t that black people were necessarily big fans of the show. I think the generation that the film was targeted to was too familiar so I don’t think it had the specific audience that it needed per se.

At least you got to shoot in Ireland.

RH: It was more than that. I got to shoot in Ireland. I got to work with Cedric (the Entertainer) and Gabrielle (Union) and Mike (Epps), who is amazing. There is no loss for me. The thing is that once you do what you do in the movie and you do your best, that’s when you let it go. How it performs, is beyond you? After that, I did two more films that haven’t come out yet.

What are they?

RH: I did “Danika”, which is a psychological thriller with Marisa Tomei and it’s a twisted story.

Do you play the usual best friend role that most black actresses in supporting roles are relegated to?

RH: No, my character is her psychiatrist and there’s a plot twist to it so I can’t say much as to her complexity, but it’s not the best friend role. My character wasn’t actually written for a black person, but the film is from a European director. The other film I did is called “The Optimist”, which also had a European director and that role, which was originally based from a play, was to be a Russian woman. That film was shot last year, but it was too late to get into the festival circuit, so now it’s going to make its run. I guess they held it because they want it to go through all the festivals. The director is actually from Russia and the lead actor is a conductor, so there was a big thing about the music and the importance of it.  Marius Balchunas is the director and Leelee Soieski is also in the film.

With these two films, will we see something totally different from you?

RH: Definitely and totally different in “Danika” and probably in “The Optimist” too. It’s sweeter, but not a broad comedy. It’s a slice of life story.

Do you see yourself as a comedian when you do “Scary Movie 4” or “King’s Ransom”?

RH: I don’t. I see myself more as a character actress, and I just make strong character choices whether they are comedic or dramatic.

So, would you say it’s up to the writing to make the character funny?

RH: No, even if she’s not necessarily funny on paper, if it’s a comedy I can just build the character that has funny nuisances. I can’t really describe it, but I try to take what’s on paper and just add to it. Just take it in the direction I can and I do that whether it’s a drama or comedy. A lot of people do ask me if I’m a comedian and I usually say no.

Are you in a position where you can help others get their films off the ground?

RH: I’m trying to. I have a girlfriend in New York and we just decided that something should be done for independent movies and we’ve been talking to a lot or people and she knows a lot of people in the finance world and we’ve been trying to figure how to do that and be a production company and get quality films made.

Why should people go see “Scary Movie 4”?

RH: Because hopefully, it’s funny. It’s 90 minutes where you can go and get your laugh on.



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