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March 2010
OUR FAMILY WEDDING | An Interview with Regina King

An Interview with Regina King

By Kara Warner

March 8, 2010


With a long list of acting roles that goes back to her days on the television series ‘227,’ Regina King continues to excel in her work as actress. Most recently, the Los Angeles native won a NAACP Image Award for her role as Detective Lydia Adams on the TNT police drama ‘Southland.’

King will be next seen on the big screen opposite Oscar winner Forest Whitaker in the comedy ‘Our Family Wedding,’ which also stars America Ferrara and Lance Gross.

Described as a clash-of-cultures comedy, the story centers on two overbearing fathers (Whitaker, Carlos Mencia) who must put aside their differences to plan the wedding of their son and daughter (Ferrera) in less than two weeks. King plays Whitaker’s wife.

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, King talks about taking the role, working with Whitaker, and being happy that ‘Southland’ is on TV.

  Congratulations on your NAACP award for Southland, do you have any fun stories of weddings you've attended in your exciting life?

Regina King: [Laughs] In my exciting life... when I was married at my wedding we got married in Jamaica and the day after about 90 of us took little boats to Dunn River Falls to walk the water falls, so we did that took great pictures and when we got on our boats to go back to the island, the boat starts sinking. Water starts filling up in the boat and my best friend Renee and me, we're summer girls, we love to swim, Jet-ski, if water are sun is involved we'll do it. So we're watching it, not saying anything because we know some of the other girls on the boat are just freaks, so it starts getting a little higher and Renee and I are like, "We're going to take off our life vests, put our purses on the life vests and kick if we have to. Then one of the girls starts screaming and

freaking out because the water is at our knees. Finally I'm like "Excuse me?" to the guy driving the boat. What happens was the boat was too heavy. One of the Jamaican guys who got on the boat shouldn't have been on the boat and we kind of forgot about it but he got on anyway and the guy looks at him and says, "Bail da boat! Bail da boat!" So he's taking a little cup to get the water out of the boat and I'm like "Child, get your butt off the boat" so he jumps off and his friend comes to get him on a Jet-ski and we make it to shore. That's my wedding story.

What struck you about the script when you read it?

RK: A couple things. One was the unique way that three love stories can be told. You have these three couples at three different junctures. I thought that was unique, especially Forest and my character, you don't see the best friends hooking up often in that way. I know a lot of people who have been in each other's lives for years and then 20 years later, "Oh my God, you guys are together?" So that was kind of neat to me, also things are received better through comedy and I felt like it was timely for a story dealing with cultural differences to come out and the moral of the story, if you will, that it's really us dealing with our personal issues. The climate of the country right now can really use stories like this and push a button and make you think.

Forest talked about not having any intimidation with him being an Oscar winner, but you've worked with Jamie in Ray, was there anything he did to ease the atmosphere?

RK: No it wasn't deliberate. Forest is a laid back guy, that's one thing about his character Brad Boyd that's similar to Forest, his laid-backness. Forest is not OCD but that guy on the radio with the voice, I don't know if he's been in here but he's going to shy away from that. He is that laid back mellow cat that never wants anyone to feel intimidated. It makes him uncomfortable if those around him are uncomfortable. He definitely doesn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable so it's not a thoughtful thing, it's a natural thing, he's that guy.

How was that cake scene with him?

RK: It was fun until having to wash that cake out of my hair.

How long did that take to film?

RK: Once the cake hit the hair that was the last take.

Was all that in the script, it seemed like improv?

RK: That was in the script but the whole how it came to be was kind of Forest and I just going for it. He loaded up some ammunition in his corner and what you didn't see because a lot of things are edited out and shortened, I went hard on Forest. He was getting beaned by cupcakes, you didn't really get to see that.

I bet clean-up was messy?

RK: Someone had to walk us out so we didn't slip. That part of it was fun but like I said, I had to wait until I got home, I couldn't wash my hair in the trailer. I had to get in my shower, have the water run all over my head.

  The line in the movie, "Their wedding, our marriage," what do you think of that?

RK: I think for a lot of families that's true and even deeper than "Their wedding, our wedding" about the wedding, but about the marriage. We put so much into the wedding that we forget the work is in the marriage. Especially for the women the wedding, it's all this preparation and you're like, "It's over? Really?" That day goes by so quick. From the moment you get up and start your hair and makeup process to when you're on your way to the honeymoon suite, it feels like four hours. It doesn't feel like the 16-17-hour day that it is, it feels like four hours. For the guys, I'm not speaking for them, I'm speaking for most women I've met that are married. I've gone through divorce and I'm the first to say that a lot of it is from the work that we, together, didn't put into the marriage. You get so caught up in the idea of marriage that you forget that it's what you create. We tend to think that it should be like your mother's marriage or your grandmother's marriage, it's not. "Our marriage." I think that that line is so much bigger than the wedding.

You have an established movie career, what made you decide to do a TV series like Southland?

RK: Oh well, because it's brilliant, one. Two, being a mother and recognizing that I had turned down for 4-5 movies because they were going to take me out of the city for more than two weeks and I thought, "You know, I want to keep working" but unfortunately I'm not in my place in my career where I can choose that every movie I do is going to be shot in LA. So my manager and agent actively sought after TV, that's how the "24" situation came to be, that was the beginning of my looking to do TV. The beauty of being able to be okay with that decision is that now there is no definitive line between a movie actor and a television actor. Ten years ago for a movie actor to do television..

It was coming down a level. And yet there are so many on TV now...

RK: Glenn Close, Lawrence Fishburne, myself, Forest Whitaker, Kyra Sedgwick, Holly Hunter, Sigourney Weaver, you have some serious quality movie people that are on TV. Right now TV, as far as 1-hour dramas, for those who love the narrative, all the cable networks, there are some great shows on. Obviously you can tune into that every week. We get a good movie in the theater every couple months because there are a lot of great theatrical movies but they're too hard to find. You live in Pasadena and it's only playing in Santa Monica, the art house movie theaters, they show what the director of that theater wants to have so you may not get lucky enough to have "Precious" in your area, just using that as an example. TV is just more accessible.

Southland was on NBC and got booted off for Jay Leno...

RK: It's the most interesting thing.

Is there some satisfaction on the set of Southland, given what happened?

RK: Yeah, we are very happy to be at TNT. There is some part of me, I really thought I had totally gotten beyond the NBC of it all. It would be different if it wasn't a good show. I kinda liken it to being in a relationship and you think everything is going great and then he dumps you, and you're like "But you just bought me flowers yesterday! And took me to a great dinner!" So I'm driving down the street on Sunset and in between Fairfax and Doheny I see like nine billboards for Parenthood Tuesday nights at 10pm - now mind you, I think that Parenthood looks like a great show, but there's something in me that went "Ok, I'm not over it." Because that reaction... there is sometimes, that is like, after that happens you have a new boyfriend and you see your ex with a new girl and you go, "Oh."

Do you think it's a better fit at TNT?

RK: I do. And I'm going to tell you why. NBC still, although Parenthood looks like a great show, the network is crashing and burning before our eyes. They don't have anything else other than Parenthood that's great so they're scrambling because they made this Leno decision, and now they don't know what to do. It cost them a lot of money, they moved three steps back to move six steps back, so there's that part of me that - I'm not a person that likes to see a person fail, and there are a lot of jobs there with the Leno decision, a lot of people were out of work. That's five hours of scripted television that was gone. As a person that really respects the entire crew and cast and knows that I couldn't be here sitting with you if the focus puller wasn't great, that's five focus pullers that aren't working. That's one thing, I don't want to be associated with someone who is doing that. And then you have TNT on the other hand, they're smart at marketing, they are specifically going after the audience that likes narrative TV. They're not interested in the reality show. "Men of a Certain Age" is a comedy that you've never seen before, they're not scared to push the envelope which is what NBC was in the beginning. I grew up at NBC, I learned everything to be a professional on NBC. This was the network that thought up "Hill Street Blues," when Brandon Tartikoff was making incredible choices. Now I'm at a place where Steve Koonan is making incredible choices. I feel lucky to be a part of this new birth.

When do you go back to Southland?

RK: We haven't gotten the green light for the next season yet. I'm going to tell you what I anticipate and you can tell everybody "She's incredible, she can predict the future!" We'll find out in March that we're picked up and we'll be in production in June.

Any other movie projects lined up?

RK: Nope, just this right here right now.

  What comment would you make that you are one of the few child actors still working?

RK: That girl is blessed, that is the comment I would make. ‘






Our Family Wedding’ opens on March 12


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