“I think it’s a tough thing and I know it’s a difficult road,” Hall told me Monday at the premiere of her new comedy mockumentary, “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” “The first step is he apologized. How people see it, it’s up to them…I know that wasn’t easy.”
She related the Oscar fiasco to “Honk for Jesus.” Hall plays the wife of a popular pastor (Sterling K. Brown), who is on a quest to reopen their megachurch after a scandal forces them to close their doors.
“Redemption,” Hall said. “The whole point is we can evolve from maybe where we are.”
Smith released his apology video on YouTube on July 29. “There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he says in the video. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
He closed the video by promising to grow from the incident. “I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking,” he says. “But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Hall is open to possibly co-hosting the Academy Awards again. “I certainly had so much fun,” she said, while praising her co-hosts Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer.
Based on a film short of the same name, “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” is from twin sisters and filmmakers Adammo and Adanne Ebo. Hall recalled watching Brown shoot his first preaching scene. “It was great,” she said. “He was so tremendous in the film. It was so much fun to watch him.”
Daniel Kaluyya, who serves as a producer on the film through his production company 59%, said Hall was the Ebo sisters’ first choice for the role. “They said they wanted Regina so I said, ‘Let’s go get Regina,” he told me. “And then they wanted Sterling and here we are.”
The Ebos, who grew up going to church in the South, aren’t worried about their childhood pastors reaching out to them to complain about the film’s premise and satire. “The sad thing is there are plenty of situations and people to draw from, so prove that it’s you,” Adanne said, with a little laugh.
“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” will be in theaters and streaming on Peacock on Sept. 2.