Growing 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 doesn’t feel right. I think that was the hard part for Trinity. It didn’t feel right. She loved this man but was so close to leaving him until her mother was there to say, “No, Christians stay.” That belief in the trinity of marriage—the two people and God—is further complicated by liking all its features and believing that what you possess is a sign that you are doing good. It equates prosperity with proof that you are in line with God’s approval.

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

SB: Absolutely, man. I feel like if you’re not growing as an artist, you’re stagnating. Like Regina said, any time you choose something and it doesn’t require prayer, you might not want to do it all the time. There is growth in discomfort. You have a comfort zone until it’s stretched and then it gets 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 movie like this and I think, ‘What an opportunity to tell these two people’s stories, however it’s going to resonate with people.’ I mean, yes, big movies are wonderful, but so are these stories.

SB: For the record, I also like big movies. [laughs] There are also many opportunities to stretch them!

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

SB: Regina doesn’t watch pop culture movies.

RH: I do sometimes! I sawBullet train.”

SB: Did you? [leaves the room, laughing] It doesn’t count!

RH: He knows I love Brad Pitt. [laughs] Who does not?

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