Phase9 Entertainment


Regina King plays Sam Fuller

In the movie at that benefit when you came on, all I saw was leg.

I did not have a choice in that costume. When I saw what I was going to wear, because they drew a picture of it first, I was like, "Okay, no junk food," because it's all the way up there.

Any reservations about it?

In the original script, Sandy's character actually was the one that did all that, which just goes to show how giving she is. She's not like a person where it's "all about me." Her thing is just everybody has to be good. Everybody has to be great, and the story playing the best is the most important thing because I'm going to look better if the story is a great story. She felt it made more sense that my character continued to do the whole thing because originally my character freezes up and then I can't sing, I can't do it, and then she steps in and does it. She decided that Sam should be the one that freezes up, but that's the one moment that we just really fall in love with Sam. We want to see her have fun -- she can't be hard through the whole thing. So, I said okay - yeah.

For Sam, why would a woman who already knows her career is on the line jeopardize it by assaulting the one person who could get her fired?

My decision was that being a little person all of her life and because when I was younger I used to always get picked up all the time, you know, "Oh, she's so cute," and that used to irritate me all the time. It really used to be like that, and I just decided, "What if she just took it to the next level?" Then we added the element that she had these allergies, so as a kid she couldn't play any sports, was picked on, and she couldn't release any pent up energy that kids have. So, it's usually either sports or drugs that kids get into. She didn't do either one so she probably was kicking ass all of her life, and this is how she dealt with things. She didn't know any other way to deal with things. So, this woman has helped her see that there is another way, and the only reason why this woman could is because in the first MISS CONGENIALITY, she was the same type of person. In the first one, she and Benjamin Bratt have this serious fight scene. So I was able to understand the character by putting that background in it for me.

How hard was it playing a character who is pissed off and frowning for most of the movie?

A lot of the characters that I've played are usually the heavy in the movie or the person that isn't always the more realistic person in the movie. This is probably the first time where I've really had to just really keep it one note through the majority of the movie. When I saw the movie yesterday, initially I was kind of concerned that Sam was so hard, but then I watched as she used her hardness to bring Gracie back. Gracie was sad over a frickin' guy. Come on -- your best friend is about to die and you're tripping off of your dude being gone? This is ridiculous. Originally, they felt that it should have been a softer moment, but I personally felt it shouldn't have. If Sam is going to be tough throughout this movie, the only way she's going to pull her out of this is to still be tough. That's the turnaround. The only way to get her out of this is to continue kicking. Let's go out fighting. So, that was a little bit of my decision, too, I felt that was the only way for me to buy it.

Were you intimidated to get in her face like that? How did you break that down?

Well, she's a cheerleader. She's a person who wants everyone to be their best. We hit it off immediately, so by the time we got to that point, we were just so ready to do our stunt stuff. We wanted to see who could kick higher -- who could punch more accurately. It wasn't scary, and she welcomed it.

I really enjoyed that scene with the green sweater. How much of it might have been improvised, as opposed to scripted. How did it come about?

We discovered it in rehearsal. It was like, "You have four breasts! Oh, we've got to use it," so we did every moment that we could. Those little things should have their own credit at the end of the movie. It was fun - it was just hilarious. They felt like those stress-relief balls.

At Treasure Island (in Las Vegas), did you guys actually get into the moat?

No, luckily, we didn't have to. Enrique, Cheryl and Bill did. They all had to get into it. We were out there for about seven days and it was cold. One day they told us we were going to get into it tomorrow, but then they built a tank on set. So, we didn't have to get into it, but we had an 18-hour day in the water on-set.

Until the Tina Turner scene, Sam's femininity is very questionable. Was that a line you were worried about crossing?

Sam wasn't sure about it right away, because she's just all about her job. Clearly, men have pissed her off. Everyone has pissed her off -- she is anti-people. And if anyone asks about it, she'd probably punch him. She dealt with everything through anger. That was her emotion that she hid behind. If I yell, if I hit, I won't have to deal with the surface stuff. So it's not until she actually has somebody that's considering her a friend that she felt like she could peel off a few of the layers.

The last three months for you must have been quite interesting.

They have been awesome. The Oscars were amazing. I don't know why I felt like it was going to be just like this really different red carpet. The difference was it was bigger. In the past three years, the unfortunate thing about the Oscars is that it's become about fashion. It's not about this incredible work that these people have done. You know, I think I even saw an interview the other day where Hilary Swank was getting to the Vanity Fair party and she has her Oscar in her hand and the interviewer was saying, "Congratulations, Hilary," and Hilary begins to start talking about winning the Oscar, and the interviewer says, "No, I don't want to hear anything else. Just tell me about this dress." She just won her second Oscar - tell me about the dress? You're kidding me. So, that's what it's become.

And what about your own period-piece project?

Still working on it - it's a struggle, but not letting it go.

And what is it?

It's a period piece set in Chicago in the '70s. It's called MY TRIBE IS LOST. It's a coming-of-age story about two little boys in Chicago during the Black Panthers era and all the Black Power movements that were going on during that time. And just how these two boys are living in an all-white neighborhood and their relationships within the neighborhood. Although race relations were a big issue at that time, this group of kids that were black and white - were still just kids. At the end of the day, kids are the only ones who pretty much let that color thing go. It's not black or white - it's brown and pink.

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