Regina Hall is truly an inter-generational talent. In her latest film Honk For Jesus.Save Your Soul., she steps into the role of Trinitie Childs, first lady of a Southern Baptist megachurch who is dedicated to saving her church amidst a scandal with her pastor husband.
The film was recently screened during the JBL SoundSessions event at Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival where Hall participated in a talk back with Kheri Holland Tillman, Vice President Global Brand Development at HARMAN International. The two dove deep into representation in Hollywood, breaking barriers and being Black women in spaces where the odds are often stacked up against them.
After the conversation, attendees were able to participate in an exclusive screening of Honk For Jesus which stars Hall alongside Sterling K. Brown and, Nicole Beharie.
Following the screening, EBONY spoke with Hall about the film and the influences she tapped into for the role.
EBONY: Southern Baptist churches have been integral to Black culture. What has been your experience with Southern Baptist churches prior to Honk for Jesus?
Regina Hall: My grandmother and my mother are from down South. My grandmother went to a Baptist church down in Georgia. So in the summertime, that's where I went every week plus revival. My mom, however, went to a much quieter church in DC. I went to Catholic schools and experienced the Catholic Church. So I've experienced the range of churches, especially the southern Black church.
You’ve embodied some really bold personas throughout your career. What inspiration did you tap into to take on this film as Trinitie Childs.
For Trinitie, it was so much more to take in. I had to specifically understand the significance of being the first lady of the church, what Trinitie felt like she represented and where she felt God resided in her marriage. I think that's what was also fun to not just examine, but shine a light on. I also had to tap into what the roles of Pastor and First Lady means to black churches. So it was kind of a deep dive. There was so much I mean to uncover but it was tough emotionally but so much fun to do. Sterling really embodied Pastor Lee Curtis so exploring that spiritual dynamic and that personal dynamic between a husband and wife was really so integral to the film.
I really did a lot of research and I thought about, emotionally, how that union is defined. I can't speak for all First Ladies but I can speak for Trinity as a first lady. She really felt that that ironically, her name is Trinity, but her marriage was a trinity between herself and Pastor Lee Curtis and God. To break that union was also a break with the commitment that she made spiritually to God in that union. I would imagine that many people feel that sense of overwhelming responsibility not just in the marriage, but to a community. For a long time, the church was essential to the black community. That was where we saw our greatest successes and our greatest survival stories. When you feel connected to that and what that brings to your congregation, its not just letting the marriage down or God down but you feel the weight of those decisions in relation to the church.
What are you most excited for audiences to takeaway from this film and from Trinitie’s character specifically?
The reactions will be different for everyone. But I think this film touches on how life is constantly evolving. Is it time for the church to evolve? I won't give away too much but I think we re-examine a lott in Honk For Jesus. Also, people don't typically think of what a woman goes through when caught i the midst of a scandal such as this. To see Trinitie's own resolve and resilience is captivating. Lastly, the film emphasizes that we're all flawed and people in the church are not removed from that. I hope people will be able to take many of these themes away after watching.
Check out a trailer for the film below before it airs in theaters and on Peacock on September 2,2022.