Growth in Discomfort: Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall on Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. | Interviews

RH: It reminds you of being young and not feeling right, being taught something that in your own soul does not feel right. I think that was the hard part for Trinitie. It didn’t feel right. She loved this man, but was so close to leaving him, until her mom was there to say, “Nope, Christians stay.” That belief in the trinity of marriage—the two people and God—is further complicated by liking all the trappings of it, and believing that the trappings you possess are a sign that you’re doing good. It equates prosperity with proof that you’re in alignment with God’s approval.

Is it important for you to seek out work that challenges you, particularly in the independent cinema of such risk-takers as Andrew Bujalski, Trey Edward Shults and Adamma?

SB: Absolutely, man. I feel like if you’re not growing as an artist, you are in stagnation. Like Regina said, anytime you pick something and it doesn’t require prayer, then maybe you don’t want to be doing that all the time. There is growth in discomfort. You have a comfort zone until it gets stretched and then it becomes bigger, but if you never stretch it, I think it kind of shrinks a little bit. So I look forward to doing things where I constantly need to pray, “Lord, help me do this!”

RH: I look at a film like this and I think, ‘What an opportunity to tell these two people’s stories, regardless of how it will resonate with people.’ I mean, yes, big movies are wonderful, but so are these stories.

SB: For the record, I like big movies too. [laughs] There are a lot of opportunities to stretch in those too!

RH: Stories like “Honk for Jesus” are important, and they get you down to the basics of acting and character. You’re not working with a green screen on a soundstage. You’re really right there, in the hot sun under a tree, and there’s something really romantic about that type of filmmaking. I think about films that have effected me and made me want to become an actor. I don’t want to just watch them, I want to have the opportunity to be a part of those films too. 

SB: Regina doesn’t watch pop culture movies. 

RH: I do sometimes! I saw “Bullet Train.”

SB: You did? [leaves the room, laughing] That doesn’t count! 

RH: He knows I love Brad Pitt. [laughs] Who doesn’t?

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