In the latest installment of Variety’s Actors on Actors, actresses Regina King (The Harder They Fall) and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) sit down for an intimate virtual conversation. During the half-hour interview, the actresses cover a plethora of topics, including their past collaborations (the two shared the silver screen in 2004’s Ray and again in 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk), their approaches to acting, and what Regina King thinks her character of The Harder The Fall’s Trudy Smith has in common with Kevin Spacey’s Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects. At first glance, the two characters couldn’t be any more different, but Regina King provides some insight.
What Trudy Smith and Keyser Soze Have In Common
After Aunjanue Ellis delivered a tearful compliment to Regina King, declaring her “an icon of Black American cinema,” King explains how she considers her role of the slick-talking, gun-wielding Trudy Smith to be an icon in her own right “Trudy Smith was, to me, iconic,” the actress says, “she beats to the tune of her own drum, making moves in her own way that maybe you may not agree with…because she is seeing a bigger picture for us all.” The Oscar-winning actress then articulates how The Harder They Fall’s Trudy Smith isn’t good or bad but made decisions that were necessary, similar to that of The Usual Suspect’s Keyser Soze, who is considered one of the most iconic bad guys in cinematic history “Not to bring up The Usual Suspects again but,” says King referring to her previous mention of how Benicio Del Toro’s accent in the 90’s film influenced her decision to create a dialect for Trudy Smith “Keyser Soze was the bad guy, but by the end of that film we were like ‘OMG!’ To find out that it was Kevin Spacey and that he had devised this entire plan. I just feel that there’s something that is so exciting about playing someone that [my approach to it] isn’t good or bad. It’s necessary.” The idea of doing bad things for the greater good is a common motive behind cinema baddies, like Avenger’s Thanos, for example. This often causes conflicting arguments amongst fans, who wonder if bad guys are actually bad or simply misunderstood.
Do you agree with Regina King? Do you consider characters like Trudy Smith and Keyser Soze bad guys, or are they misunderstood? Let us know in the comments.