Part 2 of our chat continues with the awesome lead ladies of the film Shaft as well as the brilliant rapper-turned-director Tim Story. We sat down with the gorgeous and funny Alexandra Shipp and the user-talented Regina Hall to discuss the film, why good girls love bad boys and today’s rap music.
CB: How do you compare to your character Sasha who plays the fierce yet shy doctor?
AS: You know, I’m a little different, ya girl is a little different, Sasah didn’t get into any trouble (laughs) It was fun playing Sasha mainly because she was so smart.
CB: We see your character holding JJ down in a ride or die type of way, what is it about Sasha that you admire the most?
AS: She’s not afraid to call you out, she doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, here’s where the bar is and either you’re going to rise to the occasion or not. She’s true to herself. I try to take that into my everyday as Alex… who is she? Who is she? How does she treat people, janitors, waitresses…and Sasha has such a beautiful moral compass. I want to be more like that.
CB:Why do you think Sasha’s character became turned-on in a sense when she saw JJ’s bad boy side?
AS:There’s something about someone who doesn’t give a fuck about you. ‘I don’t need you but I want you.’ Especially when you have your own stuff going on and they have their own stuff going on. You know girls we’ll make a whole cake out of some crumbs.
CB: Are you in a relationship right now?
AS: I’ve been single for 4 years, I think I can be a little too intense for dudes the majority of the time which I’m totally fine with. It’s important to find those people that can level you out and deal with that. No woman needs a man, I need a man like I need a heart attack. Verbally intense, I don’t sugar coat shit, I’m very loud and vulgar and that can be really intimidating.
CB: You mentioned you love hip hop, who do you listen to?
AS: I love J Cole Everything, huge fan of Tupac, All Eyez On Me is one of my favorite records. Rap wise….I’m kind of sick of all of these rainbow-dreaded mumble rappers. I can’t understand you and you’re not talking about anything that does anything. The whole thing about rap is you’re either educating people or lifting people up but this party party party all the time, not for me.
CB: Tim! The music in the film sounds strategically placed, was it something you do on purpose?
TS:The soundtrack speaks to our generation, absolutely! The Shaft franchise has everything to do about music, it’s been about music and I knew that with this one I wanted it to be like you were playing an album. Starting from song 1 and when it went to the end you’re like, ‘Ok I like that album’. I really wanted to represent music from all generations, it comes form my playlist. I wanted people to bop their heads and I knew that these songs would make you smile.
CB: We love the overall positive theme included in the film was that part of your goal to show 3 positive black men on screen?
TS: What’s great about it is, I knew I was beginning with positivity. Even if you look at Sam’s character, where he’s coming from, law and order. I’m starting with 3 positive strong black men. If these people can come together to solve this and solve that maybe they can solve their relationship problems. You might feel good about what you’re seeing and hopefully the audience does.
CB: What have you learned working closely with Samuel Jackson?
TS: With Sam, he’s such an experienced actor, what I learned is, as soon as we set out to make a point, stick to that point and lean into it. As an artist you have to own it.
CB: Regina Hall you have always been a girls girl we just love you, where did you get the inspiration for your character, Shaft’s ex-love Maya?
RH: You know my friends, my friends who have kids—my mother, we see black women do that all the time…they have to just figure out a way and kind of make the choice to choose the child. Obviously she was in love with Shaft, but she couldn’t keep having bullets flying at her. I love what Tim did in the opening scene because we’ve never seen Shaft vulnerable, and you see him with his woman. But then she makes the choice and he has to accept the choice. Seeing a lot of women make choices that’s best for the family.
CB: How did someone like Shaft attract a hard working responsible woman like Maya?
RH: We do that all the time! Pick the bad ones because we see something in somebody. But she does require that he be his best self.
CB: Do you think we’ll get to see Maya and Shaft get back together in the future.
RH: I think that’s the fun part of it— leaving open the possibility. You definitely know they still have feelings. Obviously Maya still single we saw her dating, but hey you never know.
Shaft is in Theaters now!