Possibly the biggest difference the upcoming Shaft reboot/sequel has with all the previous incarnations is that screenwriter Kenya Barris (creator of black-ish) wrote much stronger women around Samuel L. Jackson’s John Shaft and his son J.J., played by Jessie T. Usher.
Regina Hall plays Maya, the ex-wife of Jackson’s Shaft and mother to J.J., as she reunites with director Tim Story after making two Think Like a Man movies together. Playing J.J.’s childhood friend Sasha is Alexandra Shipp, best known for her role as the young Storm in the recent X-Movies, including Dark Phoenix. Hall is coming off an amazing couple years after starring in the hit comedy Girls Trip, then appearing in The Hate U Give and the indie Support the Girls, for which she received an honor from the New York Film Critics Circle.
This is what the women spoke about when I sat down to interview them at the legendary Harlem Shake restaurant:
- Regina Hall on how Tim Story approached her to play Maya
- Alexandra Shipp talks about her impression of Sasha and her relationship with J.J. when she first read the script
- Hall talks about working with Tim Story again and how he gave her some room to improvise
- Shipp talks about her experiences watching the previous Shaft and how it impacted her
- Hall talks about the movie she’s currently shooting, the Tate Taylor-directed Breaking News in Yuba County
Shaft opens nationwide on Friday, June 14 with sneak previews on Thursday night. You can click on the respective links for our previous interviews with Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree, Jessie T. Usher and Tim Story.