Friday, August 19, 2022

Regina Hall Dishes About Surprising ‘Black Monday’ Twist and Black Women on Wall Street

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*Regina Hall opens up about the second season finale of her hit Showtime comedy “Black Monday,” starring Don Cheadle

The show is an 80s comedy that follows the employees of second-tier Wall Street trading firm the Jammer Group in the year leading up to “Black Monday“, the day when international stock markets crashed in 1987.

Hall plays the ruthless and ambitious Dawn, who is “brash like the boys” and totally ride or die. SPOILER: season two ends with a twist – Dawn locked up after “having taken full credit for the titular Black Monday scam in order to help her on-and-off again beau Mo (Cheadle) avoid life in prison,” per Vulture.

“Dawn just never gets it right,” Hall joked as she discussed the finale with the outlet.

Check out excerpts from the conversation below. 

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We’ve gotta discuss the twist ending. To protect Mo, Dawn goes down for Black Monday and winds up in jail. What went through your mind when you got that script?
I was like, “Oh, no. Dawn just never gets it right. No credit for Black Monday, prison.” [Laughs.] But I didn’t see it coming, so I always like that. And I did like that it was another layer of Dawn and Mo’s relationship. Her understanding that those three strikes would have put Mo in jail. And it’s not like they get the happy ending, but it’s another level and element to their connection and their love for each other.

Mo, honestly as crazy as he is, I think he loves Dawn. And she does know that. And she understands his damage and neuroses as she has the same ones. Although they can’t trust each other in business, there is a fundamental trust that they have. Even though Mo had a deal going with the FBI, he always tried to keep Dawn safe. It feels like they’ll cross any line when it comes to money, but they don’t want the other to suffer. Dawn knows that Mo can go to the lowest depths, but he doesn’t with her. It’s like the two of them against the world … when they’re not against each other. [Laughs.]

There were a lot of nuanced and hilarious conversations about race this seasonlike the double date scene with Dawn, Mo, Marcus (Dulé Hill), and FBI agent Connie (Xosha Roquemore). What’s it like to get to work on that type of material?
Well, the fun of it is that it’s very true to the time period, but it’s also really still true. We were talking about that same conversation of voter fraud that was happening in the ’80s, and we’re still talking about it, maybe actually even more now. Maybe we weren’t talking about it as much ten years ago even though it existed. But now it’s incredibly… [phone rings]. Hold on one second. [To mother:] “Hi, Mommy I’m doing a phone interview, I’ll call you back in 15 minutes. I love you.” Sorry.

No, I love that. Please tell her I say hi.
Thank you. [Laughs.] It’s all just incredibly relevant now. You know, we’re looking at Blair and dealing with his sexuality and everything. It’s real and it’s true and we’re even seeing it now. Even the Casey [Rose Wilson] story line with the crosses on the knees. It’s like we have this segment of the population that is so extreme … there’s quite a division. But, you know, it is fun to play, because as we do it, the writers and then the actors on set get to ad-lib with so much of what’s going on. And then I love that [Connie] is, here it is, a Black woman who is actually the FBI agent. It works even better than if she were, you know, white. They think they’re in one conversation at the table, but there are two different points of view.

Absolutely. I must say, I love that your mom called because my mom was a Black woman working in finance in the ’80s and ’90s and I’ve never really seen her represented on screen until Dawn, basically.
Was she? That’s so amazing.

Yeah. The stereotype of Wall Street in the ’80s is that it was dominated by white, straight men, yet Black Monday has found a way to tackle the finance industry while being one of the most subversively queer, diverse, and Black shows on television. Was that always the intention or did it develop over time?
You know, I don’t know that that was the intention when they were creating the show. But once they got the cast, they realized where they could go, what they could play with, and that was what changed the voice. Being like, Well, what was it like navigating the reality of what existed? I think that’s when they decided to explore with Keith (Paul Scheer) and his character being married and Jewish and thinking, “Well, that’s really not my truth.” And then Blair (Andrew Rannells), who is literally in politics and then falling in love with a congressman who calls his wife “mother,” ironically enough. There are certain subliminal messages there. [Laughs.]

[Black Monday] shows the reality of how these worlds don’t allow us to be who we fully are and explores the nature of how these people and lives intersect in that space. Clearly, this is a cutthroat world. What the writers did that was smart was make the firm a place where no one else would hire any of us. Then we got to be the Bad News Bears of Wall Street.

You’re known to be quite hilarious on set, specifically with your Little co-star Issa Rae. Are you a troll on every set?
[Laughs.] I love to troll Issa. I’m like the bad older sister. Like, she should be doing it, but I end up doing it to her. But she does it too! I said to Issa, “I’m going to make a video of you and all your trolling moments.” You know, we just like to have fun. You’re on set for a lot of hours and it’s great when there are people you get to have fun with and just enjoy and feel comfortable around. It naturally happens. And Issa’s so hilarious, she always gets the joke. But she always has a subtle one right there, waiting for me. We have fun going back and forth a lot.

Read the full interview here.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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