News for 3/21/2005

The following article appeared in the March 25, 2005 issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine

News for 3/16/2005

The following article appeared in the March 13, 2005 issue of Parade Magazine

The following article appeared in the March 2005 issue of Upscale Magazine

Can Sandy Beat Regina in 'Miss Congeniality 2'?

By Mike Szymanski

The question is: can Regina King beat Sandra Bullock in a fight?

The 5-foot-3 actress who recently made waves as Ray Charles' mistress in the Oscar-nominated "Ray" ends up taking on the nearly 5-foot-8 Bullock who's reprising her role as a clumsy FBI agent in "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous." Each of the actresses talked separately to about their fighting ability.

"Me, of course," insists King, who's introduced in the sequel as a tough bulldoggish character named Sam Fuller.

Bullock counters: "Well, she could give me a good fight. I have height on her, but she could pack a serious punch. I think that we would be equally matched, but I'd take her down though."

The sequel of the female agent who goes undercover in the beauty pageant world isn't as much a romance as a female buddy picture -- something that Hollywood isn't used to doing. But, wearing both the producer and star's hat, Bullock managed to get her way, and hopes that their teaming could branch out into a "Lethal Weapon"-like franchise.

"I wanted it to be a buddy movie whether it's a guy and a girl, a girl and girl, it shouldn't matter," Bullock says enthusiastically. "We're going to be like the new Mel [Gibson] and Danny Glover, I'm telling you, we're on the road."

When trying to pick her new co-star with director John Pasquin, Bullock didn't audition King, but took her out to tea.

"We blabbed about our lives, and I said, 'Oh my God, me too, me too, me too.' I just sort of loved her in the first minute. So I was walking back to meet with John Pasquin and I go, 'Oh, please let it be everything that it felt like at the table.' Like any good pairing, you need chemistry," Bullock explains. "But we couldn't tell her right then and there because we had to discuss it with the higher ups."

The chemistry obviously worked, and Ernie Hudson, Diedrich Bader, Treat Williams and Enrique Murciano joined the cast along with Heather Burns and William Shatner from the first film. Bullock knows first hand that sequels are dangerous -- just remind her of "Speed 2."

"Oh yeah, sequels are a disaster," she laughs, but she often discussed what happened to her character with writer Marc Lawrence after the first "Miss Congeniality" was a hit. "She couldn't do what she does for a living anymore because she's now famous. What happens to someone when their entire life as they knew it, which to her was being an undercover agent, was taken away?"

Set in Las Vegas, Bullock wasn't tempted to gamble at the casinos. Like a good producer, she's frugal. With $1,000 in a casino, she'd take it to the bank rather than gamble. "As long as I broke even I'm fine, I would play fifty and lose fifty," Bullock confesses. "I'm not a big spender."

King says she admires Bullock as a hands-on producer. "Both Sandy and I are total Type A-women, so we gotta do it ourselves, even the stunts," says King. "Everything was she and I. So we would come in early and do the rehearsals together. It was so much fun to work with a girl who can burp and talk about Halliburton at the same time."

A tiny starlet who's known for character roles for most of her two decades of acting, King says she built up the pent-up anger in her character by recalling what it was like to be short while growing up. "I remember when I was a kid, I used to hate being picked up," she says. "People always want to pick the little person up, 'Oh, you're so cute!' I used that rage."

In a particularly comical moment, King plays a Tina Turner spoof that was originally written for Bullock, who's a big fan of the singer. As a producer, Bullock thought the part would be better for King, and it was a good call. Turner never yet met Bullock, but sent a guitar and a note saying: "To my white soul sister, you can play backup for me any time." Bullock says she's thrilled and plans to ask an upcoming co-star about how to play the thing.

"I have the speakers, I have the amp. It's sitting there. I'm getting ready to work with Keanu [Reeves] who's a bass player and so he can hook me up," says Bullock, who's going to team up again with her "Speed" co-star for "Il-Mare" this spring.

Meanwhile, Bullock has no problem diving into her work, even if it means being in a water tank for three 18-hour days in a row. "I'm a SCUBA diver so I had no problem, but we all got sick," Bullock recalls. "By the third day we reached hypothermic levels because we were in there for 17 hours. I couldn't keep my body temperature up anymore. I got out and I had that bad Barbie doll hair where it's kind of yellow and matted. It bleached out my hair. I looked at the hair girl and she goes, 'Oh my God.' "

King adds, "They told us, you're going to need to hold your breath like 15-20 seconds, so my husband and I went out in the pool, and I couldn't even hold my breath for 10 seconds. But Sandy and I did a couple of takes and we held our breaths for like 50 seconds. I was delirious that day because it was an 18-hour day."

Although they kid about who could beat whom in a fight, Bullock points out that King's hard-edged character is a key component to the sequel. "My love interest is Regina," Bullock explains. "It's a great love story there and it's about having to face who I was and what I'm not anymore and she has to learn to soften up some of her edges. I wanted an equal partner in this film to carry this film with me and tell the story."

"Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous" opens nationally on Thursday, March 24.

News for 3/10/2005

Actress King Is One with 'The Unit'

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Actress Regina King has come on board the CBS pilot "The Unit."

"The Unit" revolves around the members of a Special Forces unit and their families.

King, who most recently co-starred in "Ray," next appears in "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous." Her first big-screen role was in John Singleton's "Boyz n the Hood," and she began her television career as a member of the late-1980s series "227."

News for 10/25/2004

She's the bad girl

...and Regina King is loving it in 'Ray'

By CINDY PEARLMAN -- New York Times Syndicate

PLAYING THE woman behind the man can get, well, tedious. That's why Regina King, who has played her share of loyal wives, savored her part in the new film "Ray."

The Ray Charles biography, set to open nationwide on Friday, casts King not as Charles' steadfast wife, Della, but as backup singer Margie Hendricks, who has a torrid affair with the married headliner.

"It was so much fun finally playing the bad girl," King said. "Every single day I couldn't wait to go to work and have an affair with Ray Charles."

The film follows Charles (Jamie Foxx) from his childhood in Florida, where glaucoma rendered him blind for life, through his days as a musical powerhouse who achieved world fame with such songs as "Georgia on My Mind," "Hit the Road, Jack," "Unchain My Heart" and "What'd I Say."

King plays Hendricks, a sassy Raelette who eventually became the singer's "road wife," sharing his bed despite his affairs with other women and her knowledge that he would never divorce Della (Kerry Washington). Too much in love with Charles to ever leave him, she was forced to settle for whatever she could get.

"I've said many times that I would never play a submissive role," King admitted. "Of course, actors say we're never going to do something, and then we go ahead and do it."

Hendricks' story ended tragically, as she slipped into a life of substance abuse.

"I think that was the result of not being able to be 'the one,' " King said sadly. "I did read where she had a relationship with another member of the band. And that was to get at Ray - everything she did was anything to get this man's attention, including getting pregnant, but he still cast her out."

Unlike Foxx's challenge in playing the world-famous Charles, King had to play a woman of whom only traces remained.

"Unfortunately there weren't a lot of pictures of her or video," the actress said. "I couldn't study her body movements. I really had to rely on the information that Ray Charles had given [director] Taylor Hackford.

"A lot of the band members had also passed on little bits of information about Margie," she added. "Those were the only people who were willing to talk about Margie. Margie had a son with Ray Charles, whom she named Charles, but I don't think the production was ever able to contact him."

Her best connection with Hendricks, King said, came through her recordings.

"When you hear her voice, it's just so strong and powerful," she said. "Ray said there was none other like her. My performance is based on that line from Ray, and a lot of prayer."

As for Foxx's critically acclaimed performance as Charles, King spares no superlatives.

"No one had to work harder than Jamie," she said. "There would be times when we would be shooting scenes with hundreds of extras. These were the performance scenes. We didn't have much time or money. Taylor Hackford could be sometimes short, for lack of a better word - he was brilliant but busy.

"Jamie would stand there and entertain the extras," she recalled. "That was huge, for Jamie to even care about the extras when he was playing this legend and standing there with prosthetics on his eyes that made him blind.

"That guy is pretty awesome."

Even more awesome was Charles himself, who to King's disappointment passed away earlier this year, before she could meet him.

"I had this dream that I would meet the real Ray Charles on the red carpet at the premiere," she said. "I wanted to ask him, 'Mr. Charles, did you enjoy the film?' I didn't get a chance. But he did give his blessing to the film - the seal of approval is there."

The 31-year-old King grew up in Los Angeles, marked as someone special by her parents, who named their daughters Regina and Reina, respectively the Latin and French words for "Queen." She recalls a childhood lived to the soundtrack of Ray Charles blaring from her father's record collection.

"My father is a huge Ray Charles fan," she said. "I was familiar with his music at a very young age."

King caught the acting bug early, and got her first break when she was cast as Brenda Jenkins on the television series "227" (1985-1990). "Boyz N the Hood" (1991) was her film debut, and she went on to such films as "Poetic Justice" (1993), "Friday" (1995), "Jerry Maguire" (1996) - in which her performance as Marcee, the sharp-tongued wife of athlete Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), won critical raves - "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1998), "Enemy of the State" (1998), "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" (2003) and "A Cinderella Story" (2004).

Most of these roles cast King as the wife or girlfriend of the leading man, spirited, outspoken and anything but downtrodden, but still not the leading role. Though she is in real life a wife and mother - she and her husband, record executive Ian Alexander, are the parents of 8-year-old Ian Alexander Jr. - she admits that she's delighted to get the chance to do something different.

"Don't get me wrong - I would not change my resume for anything," she said. "But to have the opportunity to not be the wife is great too.

"I guess it's a compliment when people think you're really good in a certain role and want you to play it again and again," the actress added with a sigh. "But another movie had just come up where they wanted me to play Samuel L. Jackson's wife. And I said, 'Hey, everybody, I'm trying to have a long career here. I'm not trying to end it before it's time.' "

Her next film is a definite change of pace, letting King exercise her comic skills and even her action capabilities: She is co-starring with Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality 2," due out in 2005.

"Sandy and I had a blast doing the movie," King said. "I've always wanted to do action, and Sandy and I are kicking butt in Las Vegas. It has really been an awesome year."

Some stars express surprise at their own success, but that's not the case with King.

"I've always been dramatic," she said, "and that's for a reason. Deep down I know I'm supposed to make an impact some way in this world, and I feel it's going to be through the movie industry.

"I never had a Plan B," King concluded. "Acting chose me, and I'm a lucky girl."

News for 8/9/2004

The following article appeared in the July 19, 2004 issue of People Magazine

News for 7/26/2004

The following interview appeared in the July 5, 2004 issue of Jet Magazine

News for 4/19/2004

The following article appeared in the April 2004 issue of Essence Magazine

News for 3/15/2004

King Smiles at 'Congeniality 2'

By Chris Gardner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Regina King ("Legally Blonde 2") is in final negotiations to star opposite Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality 2."

Director John Pasquin ("The Santa Clause") starts shooting the Warner Bros. project next month in Los Angeles, followed by New York and Las Vegas.

Bullock will reprise her role from the original 2000 hit as FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart. King will play Samantha, a fellow FBI agent. The duo -- at odds with each other at first -- are partnered up and must head to Las Vegas on a new case they've been assigned. Heather Burns and William Shatner also star.

Bullock will again produce from a script by Marc Lawrence, who also penned the original Donald Petrie-directed film. Budgeted in the $45 million range, the first installment cleared $100 million at the domestic box office.

King next stars in the features "Cinderella Story" opposite Hilary Duff and Jennifer Coolidge, and "Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story" opposite Jamie Foxx. Her credits include "Daddy Day Care" and NBC's short-lived comedy "Leap of Faith."

News for 7/17/2003

The following news item appeared in the July 11, 2003 issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine.

News for 6/3/2003

Check out Regina in the June/July 2003 issue of Heart & Soul Magazine.

News for 5/12/2003

Regina King Interview with the Electronic Urban Report- Part 1
Regina King Interview with the Electronic Urban Report- Part 2

Regina King Knows How to Be a Momma in 'Daddy Day Care'

By Angela Baldassarre

It must be unnerving growing up under the scrutinizing eye of America, especially when many child actors segue to adulthood is met with so much turmoil.

"Not me," says Regina King online from Los Angeles. "I can't talk about the others, but I come from a very grounded and loving family, and I was never treated any differently by friends in school."

And she should know about the precariousness of being a teenager in Hollywood. Betty A. Bridges, mother of downtrodden actor Todd Bridges from "Different Strokes" was her acting coach for more than a decade.

Thanks to Bridges, 13-year-old King landed a role as Vanessa's nameless friend on "The Cosby Show." But it was her friendship with Marla Gibbs with whom King worked in the Los Angeles-based Crossroads Theatre Company that got her the part of a lifetime: Brenda Jenkins, the teenaged daughter of Gibbs' character on the NBC sitcom "227," which aired from 1985 to 1990.

Nearly 20 years has past and King has starred in over a dozen films opposite many of Hollywood's African-American heavyweights, including this month's Eddie Murphy starrer, "Daddy Day Care." Directed by Steve Carr ( "Dr. Dolittle 2" ), the movie centers on two buddies, Charlie (Murphy) and Phil (Jeff Garlin), whose lives are so wrapped up in their high-profile jobs that they have no idea what to do when they get fired. Unable to find work, the guys decide to open up a daycare in order to care for their own children who can't afford to remain in private school.

"When I got on the set, I thought they might want to get some pointers from me," says King, mother a six-year-old, about her male co-stars. "But they're all married, they've all got kids. They know how to handle kids better than any woman I know."

But would she trust them with her child in a daycare? "Yeah, I guess," she laughs. "I don't know if in real life they could run a daycare. You have to understand that guys relate to kids differently than women. I'm sure the kids would have more fun with the guys. It would certainly be a different kind of daycare."

While working on "227,"King, 32, landed a small role opposite Bill Murray in "Scrooged" and in Charles Burnett's domestic drama "To Sleep With Anger." Once the series ended, she acted in the first three of John Singleton's movies, as one of the neighborhood girls in "Boyz N the Hood," as Janet Jackson's foul-mouthed best friend in "Poetic Justice," and as a co-ed in "Higher Learning." She also co-starred in F. Gary Gray's "Friday" opposite Martin Lawrence.

But her real big-screen break didn't come until Cameron Crowe cast her in "Jerry Maguire" as Cuba Gooding Jr.'s feisty wife, Marcee. The part landed her substantial parts in the adaptation of Terry McMillan's "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" with Angela Bassett, the hit action-thriller "Enemy of the State" opposite Will Smith, the family friendly animal adventure "Mighty Joe Young," and the romantic comedy "Down to Earth" with Chris Rock.

From Lawrence to Gooding to Smith to Rock. How does Eddie Murphy fare among comedic leading men?

"He's great, but he's grown up a lot," admits King, who is married to Ian Alexander, once vice president of Qwest Records. "He's a lot more serious and mature than his "Saturday Night Live" days. At one time he'd hog the limelight and wouldn't allow actors to get their time in. Not anymore. He's a father of five children, which has turned him into a more mellow person."

Sounds like King has known Eddie for awhile.

"I have, way back," she says. "I don't even remember how we first met, but we've both been in the business so long that we can't remember. Getting me in "Daddy Day Care" was his idea, in fact. Once I was sitting behind him at a screening and he told me that he wanted to work with me in the film. When the movie finally got a green light, he told the producers to call me up and offer me the part. I was really surprised, because you hear it all the time that people say they'll work with you. This time he really kept his word. I was really impressed."

News for 4/10/2003

Working On 'Legally Blonde 2' Brings Regina King To Tears

News for 11/12/2002

Regina King Joins Legally Blonde 2

Regina King has joined Reese Witherspoon in MGM's Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde for director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, says The Hollywood Reporter. Production is set to begin this month.

The Kate Kondell-penned project sees Witherspoon's character, Elle Woods, head to Washington to battle politicos after her triumphant -- and surprising -- success as a sorority girl-turned-Harvard Law School graduate.

King is set to star as Grace Stoteraux, the chief of staff for Congresswoman Rudd, a part that has yet to be cast. King is currently filming a lead role opposite Eddie Murphy in Revolution Studios' Daddy Day Care for director Steve Carr.