How I'm Living Now: Regina Hall, 'Black Monday' Actress

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Regina Hall

Based in her home in Los Angeles, Hall is keeping busy with a script she's writing with her neighbor while also wondering what film sets will look like when productions resume: "Maybe we'll have to do a movie six feet apart, where we're all just yelling across the room."

With production grinding to a halt in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the entertainment industry has found itself navigating uncharted territory. To offer a better sense of how, The Hollywood Reporter is running a regular series that focuses on how Hollywood's writers, actors, directors, executives and others are living and working in these challenging times.

Black Monday actress Regina Hall is waiting out the pandemic in her home in Los Angeles, where she's been cleaning the place from top to bottom. Each day, she also spends time working with her neighbor on a script that she'd hoped to take out on the town just as the pandemic hit. The Girls Trip star, who says the hardest adjustment has been being apart from her mother (who called during the interview to check in on her), reveals her at-home habits, both good (cleaning and gardening) and bad (snacking and sweats), and considers what work will look like when she returns to set one day.

Let's start easy: How are you?

I am totally different than I was, in a sense, but I'm also fine. I've been meditating probably more, so that helps. Somebody had a great tag that they posted that said, "When you can't go outside, go inside."

What does your day look like now?

I usually get up and tell myself I'm going to work out. Fifty percent of the time, I do not. And 50 percent of the time, I do. I stay on MSNBC because I always want to be abreast of everything. I still write with my neighbor who lives across the street. Her name is Antoinette Stella. She has every seating arrangement in her house measured from what is exactly six feet apart. We're in the midst of, well, probably nothing now, but we would've started pitching it. It's a series. But we still keep up our writing. And then usually, there's one thing I organize at least a couple days a week. Like, I started in my kitchen, and then today, I'm doing all my bathroom cabinets — just a little purge. And then I FaceTime my friends — those are chosen by how bad I look. (Laughs.)

How so?

If it's some of my girlfriends and I don't care how I look, then I can FaceTime them at any time. But if it's a guy or if it's maybe someone who I may have to meet with later, then I have to spruce it up.

What's been the hardest adjustment for you during this period?

It's probably been not being able to see my mother, because she doesn't live here. She lives in Georgia. So, not being able to get on a plane has probably been the hardest part because she's so far away.

What have you learned about yourself in this period?

I'm kind of a loner, more than I thought. I know people [for whom] this has been incredibly difficult, and I mean, it's certainly trying times for me, but I don't think I've had quite as difficult a time as some people have had being in the house. And I like to clean! And my house, I had these floors sparkling, and I was like, "I don't need a mop. I'm getting on my hands and knees." That gets me excited — when the house is clean, and I did it.

What cause is most important to you in these times?

I've been donating to a lot of causes. One of my neighbors started a [group] where we serve meals to our local hospital — they try and do one every day. And then I have a cause in D.C. that we're trying to get help with housing. Wherever I see there's a need and I can help — I'm not physically on the front line, but if I can help financially, I tend to do that, especially right now. Also, if there's any campaigns that I may be in support of, because the election is coming. And so, that's been something that I've continued to do. If they're candidates who are close and in need of help, I try to lend support there too, financially.

Anyone you're particularly excited about?

Listen, I'm excited at this point to support anyone who has intelligence and can help. I think it's important that we have a system that really honors and supports citizens. It's not just the presidential race. There's a senate race going on, so that's been where I've wanted to lend my support, especially to … not to vilify or praise anyone, but to get balance back in our government and in our system so that everyone can feel supported. I don't want to say and jinx anything, but I am excited about the young woman [Amy McGrath] who seems really smart to me and is running against Mitch McConnell.

Are you dusting off any old hobbies or finding new ones?

I discovered how much I like pulling weeds. If you wait until about two days after the rain, it's soothing because they come up gently.

Do you have a go-to comfort food that you've been indulging in?

That's a big problem — I have too many go-to comfort foods. I have been eating a lot more. I like chips. I've gotten into cereal again. I've been doing a lot of coffee ice cream, and ice cream floats, which I don't normally do. And the worst part is, I'm in sweatpants and I know when I put real clothes back on, it's not going to be good. I'm going to come out of quarantine playing all different kinds of roles. (Laughs.)

How exactly would you describe your Corona Era wardrobe?

Oh, it's sweats, and not even the cute ones. There's nothing cute about anything, which is also kind of nice. I mean, what's the point? I guess people with husbands at home still have to be cute but the flower bed doesn't expect much.

What's on top your to-do list once this is all over?

Get my hair done, get a pedicure. These eyebrows don't know the meaning of shape anymore. And see my mommy. I want to see my family.

Have you had any conversations with anyone about how being on set will change?

I have. One of my friends is a makeup artist. He's like, "I'm changing my whole thing. We're wearing masks. I also want to do a plastic barrier so that there's no risk of us getting people sick." I think everyone's really trying to figure out a way to keep people safe — so maybe boxed lunches so there's no craft services and catering. I think people are just trying to figure out how can we have a sense of normalcy and safety combined?

What do you think it will feel like for you to finally get back to work in a "normal" way?

Obviously, I love working, I love costars. So I love Brad Pitt, and I want to work with Brad Pitt. I was thinking, it would be my luck that I'll get to work with Brad Pitt and I'll be like, "With COVID, how could I force a kissing scene?" I think it's most important. I'd have to figure that out. (Laughs.) But I think it'll be great for everyone to be back on set. When you work on a set, it really does become like a family, so how do you keep everyone safe? Will that same sort intimacy be there with the crew? Maybe we'll have to do a movie 6 feet apart, where we're all just yelling across the room. I don't know.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.