Exclusive: Catching Up With Life & Nothing More Actress and Indie Spirit Nominee Regina Williams

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Exclusive: Catching Up With Life & Nothing More Actress and Indie Spirit Nominee Regina Williams
Posted by Wilson Morales

March 2, 2018


Tomorrow afternoon is the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards and among the nominees for Best Female Lead is Regina Williams from the film ‘Life And Nothing More.’

Making its World Premiere at 2017 TIFF, the film has received high praise, including being selected as one of Variety’s 10 best movies as Toronto, an Audience Award nomination at AFI Fest, a Special Award win at Feroz Awards ES and wins for the FIRESCI Prize and SIGNIS Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.

Directed by Antonio Mendez Esparza (“Aquí y allá“), using mostly non-professional actors, the film follows a young African American family as they battle the realities of race, the legal system and social inequality against the backdrop of the U.S. election. Before they can face the future, the family must reckon with their past.

Regina (Regina Williams) lives with her teenage son, Andrew (Andrew Bleechington), and her four-year-old daughter, Ry’nesia (Ry’nesia Chambers). As a single working mom, having a life beyond her job at the diner and her kids is difficult, especially as Andrew rejects any men who enter her life. Andrew is a good kid, though; he takes care of his younger sister, picking her up from daycare and feeding and reading to her before bed. He yearns for his jailed father, but is terrified of ending up the same way. After an incident in a nearby park threatens her son’s future, Regina wakes up to the fact that she needs to put their tensions aside and advocate for him.

Regina Williams is one of those non-actors whose performance stood out to be nominated opposite Salma Hayek (Beatriz at Dinner), Francis McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), and Shinobu Terajima (Oh Lucy).

Blackfilm.com caught up with Williams as spoke about the film and her nomination.

How did the role come about for you?

Regina Williams: Interesting enough, my sister had an audition and I went with her. They had seen my sister. She was working at a local grocery store and they had asked her if she would come in and do an audition and she was, “Sure.” They were having auditions all over town and at colleges and stores and things like that. She’s bubbly and happy and doesn’t do drama, and I just gave it a shot. I didn’t have a manager and Antonio called me to come over to his office. This is after 10 auditions. He would call me in for different days when I had some time to come in to audition for different scenes and I would do it. Then he called me and told me I had the part and I was very excited.

Are you an actress or was this something that came from out of the the blue?

Regina Williams: I’m not an actress. I just did it. I’m a non-actor.

Where are you from and how long was the production shoot?

Regina Williams: I’m from Tallahassee, Florida and the production took three months to shoot.

What was your day job before this?

Regina Williams: I was waitressing and going to school in the evening. I left my job for a while but went back after the movie was done.

How did you get into character? Are you a mother and is this story something you can relate with?

Regina Williams: Yes. I am a mom. It wasn’t hard. We got the script and I just went for it. I would think about the character and think on it and see how aggressive she is at times and go for it. Just the fact that this story happens all the times and it needs to be told. I have a 13 year-old son who’s busy now and I’m beginning to feel the reality of things as we speak.

How was working with the rest of the cast?

Regina Williams: It was fun. Everyone came together. It was fun working with Antonio. Great guy. Funny most of the times when we weren’t recording. We got along good and made this film work.

Do you go out and watch a lot of films? Did you see Antonio’s first film.

Regina Williams: Not necessarily. I usually like writing stuff, but not much. I hadn’t seen Antonio’s first film but I watched the trailer.

With the film traveling through the festival circuit and getting critical acclaim, how have you been able to humble when folks are writing how good your performance is?

Regina Williams: I’m excited about it and I think it’s a blessing that people can actually watch the film and witness the greatness of it. It makes me feel good to know that I can do it. I had doubts and didn’t know what to expect but now that I’ve seen the outcome, I’m elated. Especially when I was overseas. The people were great. They talked to me. Some were in tears.

What you do think people will connect with about this movie?

Regina Williams: Most people will be able to connect with the juvenile system because we all have teenagers that sometimes find themselves in the court system; and also the single mom deal in trying to raise a man. Those are two aspects of the film that will touch most people.

Where were you when you heard about the nomination?

Regina Williams: I was actually in Antonio’s office doing an audition for another project. He didn’t know who the nominees were, but he knew they were coming out. He was auditioning me and one of his students and then he looked at the phone and looked at the nominees and lost it.

Will you continue to act?

Regina Williams: If I can, I will. I want to. I would like to. It is what it is. I’m just a happy person and try to stay busy for the most part. I’m in Florida and there’s not much here for auditions. If I can get to auditions, I would definitely do it.

The Indie Spirit Awards will be announced on Saturday, March 3, 2018. The awards ceremony co-hosted by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will be held on the beach in Santa Monica, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The show will broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT/ 5:00 pm ET.

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