MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Chances are good you've seen the actor Regina Hall before. She's been in dozens of TV shows and movies from "Ally McBeal" to "Black-ish," from the film "Love And Basketball" to last summer's raunchy female comedy smash "Girls Trip."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GIRLS TRIP")
REGINA HALL: (As Ryan Pierce) This weekend is all about the Flossy Posse. We're going to be staying up late, drinking, making memories that we can laugh about the rest of our lives because that is what a girls trip is for.
BLOCK: In her new film, she leaves the Flossy Posse behind but is still surrounded by her girls. Regina Hall stars as Lisa. She runs a Hooters-style restaurant called Double Whammies where the servers spill out of tiny crop tops and short shorts. The film is called "Support The Girls."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SUPPORT THE GIRLS")
HALL: (As Lisa Conroy) Excuse me, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Character) Yeah.
HALL: (As Lisa Conroy) My name is Lisa. I'm the general manager. And my girl just said you got a little disrespectful with her.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Character) What?
HALL: (As Lisa Conroy) Well, you might have thought you were just having a little fun. But I have a zero-tolerance policy on disrespect. So you're going to have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Character) I haven't gotten my food yet.
HALL: (As Lisa Conroy) You haven't paid for it, either. So let's just call it even.
BLOCK: And Regina Hall joins me now from NPR West. Welcome to the program.
HALL: Thank you so much for having me. This is a real treat to be here today.
BLOCK: Well, let's talk about Double Whammies.
BLOCK: It's the kind of place that your character says is all about the triple B's.
HALL: Boobs, brews and big screens (laughter).
BLOCK: Yeah. That pretty much sums it up, right?
HALL: Yeah. For a while there, that was my little world. We actually shot in this restaurant. But it was right across the parking lot from a Twin Peaks.
BLOCK: Twin Peaks being a Double Whammies or Hooters equivalent.
HALL: (Laughter) Yes. Yes.
BLOCK: Not too much subtlety in the naming, I suppose, yeah?
HALL: (Laughter) No. No. I think they make it clear. And so I don't - that kind of became the stomping grounds that we had, like, during lunch. And, you know....
BLOCK: So you'd go and do - you'd do research across the street.
HALL: Yeah. Right across the parking lot, we'd do research. And I have to say there were a lot of families that I saw in Twin Peaks. And a lot of times, the young women are actually taught to make sure that if there's a family or if people are on a date that you make sure that you give the female, you know, a lot of attention to make sure that they feel comfortable enough that they'd want to come back.
BLOCK: The title of the movie "Support The Girls" also, you know - it does have a double meaning, not to put too fine a point on it. There is the...
HALL: It actually does.
BLOCK: The anatomical side - right? - of supporting the girls...
HALL: (Laughter) Yeah.
BLOCK: ...Given the push-up bras that they're wearing.
BLOCK: But also your character's offering maternal, moral support as well.
HALL: Absolutely - a lot of emotional support to these young girls who - she and they both realize they're in an environment where they're, you know, exploited. So what she tries to do is kind of maintain an integrity. I found it really interesting that Andrew wrote a movie about sisterhood and...
BLOCK: This is the director.
HALL: Yes - Andrew Bujalski, the director. You know, I found it interesting that he actually wrote a movie about sisterhood. And the backdrop was, you know, Double Whammies. It was just such an interesting juxtaposition to take.
BLOCK: There's a scene where we see a waitress applying for a job. And she asks Lisa, do you get grabbed? And let's listen to what Lisa says in response.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SUPPORT THE GIRLS")
HALL: (As Lisa Conroy) This is a mainstream place, you know? And it's a family place, which means a lot of families come here. And it also means that we're all family. And yeah. You're not - you know, you're not wearing a whole lot of clothes. But trust me. If these guys wanted to go to a strip club, they know where to find them. They just come here so some sweet girls can take good care of them.
BLOCK: Do you think she really believes that? Or is she trying to convince herself with that?
HALL: I think she really believes that.
HALL: I do. And I also think that she knows with her being there that it's not going to be tolerated anyway because it's not about just the guys. It's about the system that they've created and that she demands.
BLOCK: This is a really small movie in a lot of ways.
BLOCK: It takes place mostly over the course of one single day. It's low-budget.
BLOCK: It really couldn't be much different than the really splashy romp of "Girls Trip." How do you explain sort of the different sides of your career that that appeals to?
HALL: I actually read the script while I was in New Orleans shooting "Girls Trip." And every day on "Girls Trip," you know, we're having a ball. We're, like, ziplining across Bourbon Street.
HALL: And I just got this little script that came, you know? And it was kind of interesting to watch just a day play out, you know, life where people are just really working hard every day, trying to make a living.
BLOCK: Why was that interesting to you as an actor?
HALL: I mean, I've seen that my whole life, you know? - my mom, my family. And I don't know. It was an interesting thing to play, like, all the subtleties of what life is emotionally every day. And that - it was very specific because, most of the times, we really aren't - in movies, we see people play what they feel, you know? You feel something. But in real life, we really don't, you know? Many of us go to work. And we have someone home sick. Or we don't know how we're going to pay this bill or that. But, you know, we don't wear that - just kind of is simmering in the midst of a million other thoughts - just stuff. And, you know, I loved that it wasn't about that. And yet all of that is in what life is and in Lisa.
BLOCK: I want to ask you about something that the director of "Girls Trip," Malcolm Lee, is quoted as saying about you. He says you're definitely black famous. And I wonder what you make of that?
HALL: Well, that's a good thing, you know? But, you know, I think with cable and Netflix and things that are on. And every time a movie crosses over, you know, those - that audience widens. But definitely having your core is - you know, I think it's kind of imperative. And so, hopefully, black famous is the beginning.
BLOCK: That's Regina Hall. Her new film is "Support The Girls." Ms. Hall, thanks so much.
HALL: Thank you.
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