Hollywood veteran Regina King is on a winning streak – and that’s putting it lightly. In 2019, she won her first-ever Oscar and Golden Globe for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk. Then in 2020, she took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her character Angela Abar in Watchmen.
That same year, she made her directorial film debut with One Night in Miami, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival (the festival’s first film directed by a Black woman) and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Now, she’s back on screen again and her new film is already causing a stir.
The Harder They Fall, in which she stars alongside Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, LaKeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz, is a new-age Western action-packed with rifles, horses, trench coats and cowboy boots.
Regina assumes the role of ‘Treacherous’ Trudy Smith, a nononsense member of Rufus Buck (played by Idris Elba)’s fearsome crew. The intensity of the film, however, was somewhat offset by the laid-back nature of the interview I had with her. As she logged on to the Zoom Meet – me in Cape Town, while she sat on the other side of the globe – her cool demeanour immediately rubbed off on me, and I opened by asking about her wellbeing in such uncertain times. “I think I’m at a place where we all are,” she says. “Trying to manage anxiety and waiting in anticipation for what’s going to happen next.” To help her cope, she reveals she started a garden – a project through which she could channel all her pent-up angst and unease. Of course, filming her movie was another positive distraction. When approached to be a part of the film, she said it was director Jeymes Samuel’s passion and enthusiasm that compelled her to take the role. “He was so clear about his vision,” she says. “He grabbed his guitar and started playing music that he’d already started writing for the film. He described exactly how he wanted to shoot the scenes, and I was, like, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this man before.’ He was so confident and clear, and that’s what excited me.”
Her trust in Jeymes translated into her embodying Trudy at a time, Regina says, that she may have needed it most. “I needed to have a Trudy, because the roles that I had been playing prior that were emotionally heavy, so Trudy was an opportunity to step away from that and have fun”. However, preparing for the role was quite an intensive process. She conducted a lot of research – asking questions, reading the script and engaging in back-and-forth discourse with Jeymes to ensure she truly brings his vision to life. “I wanted to be clear on the backstory I was building for Trudy, and to make sure it aligned with what [Jeymes] had created for her.”
Read the full interview in the latest issue of Glamour SA.