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Regina King – “Seven Seconds” and the Push Toward Diversity in Television | The Daily Show

Please welcome Regina King. (cheering and applause) Thank you. So good to have you. It’s so good to be back! This is… Wow, I…
Can I tell you? Seven Seconds is
one of those shows that you… You know, like, Netflix
will catch you sometimes, because you-you just watch
a show, then it goes like,
“Recommend, recommend.” I saw Seven Seconds,
and I saw your face, and I started watching the show,
and I was not ready for how intense
and amazing the show is. -Yeah, it’s pretty intense.
It is. -It really is. Like, just if you give us
just a light breakdown of what the story is
and-and where it goes. Yes. Um, it is about a family who, uh, their son has been hit
by a police officer– -a drive-by, if you will–
-Right. but literally the car hits him, and he’s left to die,
and they try to cover it up. And it’s my character
in particular just knows that something
is not right about it. And, um, as you follow her, it’s her trying to get justice
for her son. And, um, you have to watch it
if you haven’t to see what happens, but it-it definitely
is telling a story about things that are going on
right now. I mean, it’s interesting
that you, you know, showed– which I loved– uh, the-the… I don’t know his name,
but the strong safety -from the Philadelphia Eagles.
-Oh, yeah, yeah. -Yeah. Yes, Malcolm Jenkins.
Yes. Yes. -Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, I… And you know what’s
powerful about the story is that it… it really captures
the human element of a very difficult story
to tell. Because in the story–
I-I will only spoil the beginning
of the first episode for you, and that is
that the police officer -makes a mistake.
-Yeah. He makes a mistake, and it’s
a story of how the cover-up really does make
what happened worse. Because he made a mistake, and because his officers
are involved in something shady, -they’re afraid
of how this will look, -Right. and so they cover it up,
and it becomes worse, and you have these families
embroiled. Everyone has stories.
Everyone has secrets -that they’re trying to keep.
-Secrets. And that really makes it worse. How do you think, like,
the success of the show was defined by the humanity of every single one
of the characters? Um, because I… One… The first thing is the fact that
Veena Sud, who’s the creator, she instead of making it be, um, -a child that was shot
by a police officer, -Right. -it was a child that was hit
by a police officer -Right. and then this story
of a cover-up. So that’s where I think
the humanity comes in and the choices that we make -and us being a product
of our choices. -Right. And that’s what, um,
I guess, made… allowed people to see, um, it from a more, um… -human perspective, you know?
-Right, right. And that-that really is,
I think, what makes Seven Seconds
so successful. That combined
with the amazing acting. -You’re phenomenal in it.
-Oh, thank you. I know the Emmys are coming up,
and honestly, it… Like, you have won two Emmys. -I see a third in your future.
-Oh! It is genuinely phenomenal,
phenomenal acting. (cheering and applause) Over-over time, you know,
as an actor in Hollywood, you’ve slowly seen a shift in how actors of color have been
recognized for their work. You know, all too often, I’ve heard people say like,
“Oh, Regina King– she’s really come out of
nowhere, and she’s…” And you’re just like–
especially with black people– -you’re like, “From nowhere?”
-But… -“You mean our lives?”
-Right. “What do you mean, ‘nowhere’?” Does it feel like that change is
finally gaining traction? You know, do you feel like there’s a shift
in the right direction? Um… sure, and I think that… -(laughter)
-(laughs) (laughter) -Um, I think television is where
it’s… -Interesting. Right. Yeah, I think television
has, uh, -uh, been responsible
for a bit of a shift. -Right. I mean, just the fact that I’m
sitting here with you, and how you were the one
that the baton was passed to… Right, right, right.
I hear what you’re saying. …is an example of that
there has been this shift in TV, and-and-and, uh,
creators in television are having opportunities
to tell stories -that mirror what’s going on
in life. -Uh-huh. So, I say, “Sure,” because I think
we’ve got a long way to go. -It’s… Yeah. Yeah.
-Definitely. No, definitely. And I think a lot
of that long way, uh, will be I real… I really think
inspired by the fact -that people of color are now
gaining equity… -Sure. …because somebody
like yourself is a really well-known actor who has killed the game
for a long time. -You’ve been amazing.
-Thank you. And now we see you directing,
we see you producing. -You directed
your very first pilot… -Yes. …which is…
I mean, congratulations on that. -Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. -That is phenomenal. -Thank you. -But…
-(applause and cheering) You also directed shows
like This is Us. You know, you’ve been out there. Was it ever a choice?
Did someone ever say to you, “Hey, Regina, do you want to
direct, or do you want to act?” Was that ever a choice
that was put in front of you? No, that was not a choice
that was put in front of me. That was, um, a desire and some examples
that were, uh, before me. You know,
Marla Gibbs was a huge example. And I think a lot of people… She doesn’t get the credit
that she deserves, ’cause she was one of the first
that was, um, -producing and starring…
-Right. …and sold her own show. You know, 227 was a show…
was a stage play that she took to NBC
and-and sold it, and… Um, so I got to have a front-row
seat to see a woman do that. -Right.
-And, uh… So I kind of feel like
it was… it was in me to desire to have more ownership
and more of a presence than just an actor. Although, I love acting.
I would… I will never stop doing it,
but I know that, um, there’s ways
that I can bring opportunities -to tell our stories…
-Right. …even more
and in a more present way. Do you… do you ever feel
that it’s hard? Because, honestly,
I can not stress enough how talented you are
as an actor. I mean, um, everything
from The Boondocks through to Seven Seconds.
You’re phenomenal. (applause and cheering) So, is there ever a moment
where you’re directing somebody and then you’re just like,
“Just do it like this!”? And then go out in front there. Like, is there ever that moment
where you’re like, “Just do it!
Do it the way I would… -You know what? Roll on me.
Roll on me.”? -Right? Is that ever a feeling
that you have, or do you completely
separate yourself, -and change your role?
-Um… yes. I really try. I’ve had some really great
mentors as directors, and it’s really important
to not… -‘Cause I know what I don’t want
as an actor. -Right. Right. I don’t want a director
to give me a line read, or, -you know, tell me that,
“Say it like this.” -Right. I don’t want that, so,
I really am conscious of that. But I will say
there are times that I am, um,
behind the camera, and the actors are just so
amazing, and they’re so great, and I want to jump in there
and be in the scene -and act with them.
-(Noah and audience laugh) So I do have those moments. Um, I’m excited to see what
you’re going to be doing next. Second Seconds is an amazing,
amazing story that you’re telling. -Um, good luck for the Emmys
that are coming up. -Thank you. -Thank you for being on the show
with us again. -Thank you. Second Seconds is available
on Netflix. Please, trust me,
you want to watch it. Regina King, everybody.

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