Starring Regina King
October 12, 2019

Transcription taken from NPR.

Oscar winner Regina King — who has appeared in Jerry Maguire, If Beale Street Could Talk and The Boondocks — is now starring in the HBO superhero series Watchmen. We’ve invited King to play a game called “I’m not a watchman, I’m a watch man.” Three questions about luxury watches inspired by this Gary Shteyngart piece in The New Yorker.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where people who’ve done a lot do a little more. It’s called Not My Job. Despite a career that’s lasted almost 30 years, Regina King has been very hard to pin down as an actress. She played a fiercely supportive wife in “Jerry Maguire.” She won an Oscar for playing a mother in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And in “The Boondocks,” she played two small boys. Now she stars in the HBO superhero series “Watchmen,” and hopefully now, she’ll be known for what she really is – a badass.

Regina King, welcome to WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: So I’ve actually – I got a chance to watch the first episode of “Watchmen.” They’ve been very secretive about it. And I was – I hope I can give this away. You play a kind of superhero, right? You get to put on a costume and beat the living heck out of people.

REGINA KING: Yeah, which I get to, like, release a lot of aggression at work.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: After a lifetime of playing a variety of mostly dramatic roles, was this a lot of fun?

KING: Oh, my gosh, yes. It was so much fun. And then, like, I get to do this because I don’t have superpowers. I have super skills…

SAGAL: Right.

KING: …On this show.

SAGAL: Yeah. You’re kind of a – like a Liam Neeson in “Taken” type of thing. You have…

KING: There you go.

SAGAL: …Certain skills. Yeah.

MO ROCCA: Wait – can I just say I just realized that Regina means queen, so you’re, like, super royal.

KING: Yeah.

ROCCA: Queen King.

KING: That was no mistake.

SAGAL: Really?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So your parents – I presume Mr. and Mrs. King – they decided that they would name their daughter Regina to just emphasize that aspect.

KING: Oh, yeah. They took it even a step further. My sister, who’s four years younger than me – they named her Reina, which also means queen, so…

SAGAL: Wow. I can understand.

KING: There you go.

SAGAL: Was that – was – I mean, you’ve done it, but still, was it hard to live up to?

KING: I’ll be honest. I didn’t really know what I was living up to until I started taking Spanish. And yeah, it kind of took me to junior high till I went, like, oh, yeah.

SAGAL: OK.

KING: Some big stuff here.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. And I want to talk a little bit about “Watchmen” because it’s weird because this is – it’s based on a very famous comic book that came out some time ago that’s very, very popular to comic book nerds. And I know as you know that comic book nerds are the most relaxed, forgiving people.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So have you have you had, like, any encounters yet? Have you been down to, like, Comic-Con to deal with it yet?

KING: I have. And you know what?

SAGAL: What?

KING: So far, so good. We got a standing o at our screening, so…

SAGAL: Really? So no…

KING: You know?

SAGAL: Well, I’m – and do you hope that, like, you can move on this to be, like, in Marvel movies and just, like, make the superhero thing work for you as the rest of your career?

KING: Do you know what? Right now, I’m just hoping I just see one or two people this Halloween dressed like me.

SAGAL: Oh, that would be awesome.

(APPLAUSE)

ROCCA: That’s the measure. That’s the metric.

SAGAL: That…

PAULA POUNDSTONE: What does your character wear?

KING: Oh, my God. It is amazing.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

KING: Instead of a cape, I have, like, this skirt that flows like a cape, so when I walk, it just billows out. And it’s all leather. It’s all black. It has a hood. And I spray-paint my mask on.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.

KING: …Better than that.

SHANNON O’NEILL: You tag your own face.

SAGAL: Yeah.

KING: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So we heard that you have a pretty interesting celebrity crush that you’ve admitted to, at least.

KING: Yeah. Is it Sam Elliott?

SAGAL: It is Sam Elliott.

KING: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: How did you develop a crush on Sam Elliott?

KING: Did – any of the ladies out there, did you see “Road House” – or some of the men? Did you see “Road House”?

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Just something about when he has that rubber band in his mouth, and he’s pulling his hair back, and he’s about to whoop some ass. It was just sexy to me as a little girl.

SAGAL: You have a – you travel in pretty…

ROCCA: Turn on the AC in here.

SAGAL: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You travel in pretty A-list circles. Have you run into Mr. Elliott at any time?

KING: Oh, my God. And I had to let him know…

SAGAL: Did you really?

KING: …Immediately.

SAGAL: Was that, like – did you just blurt it out? Like, hi, Sam Elliott. I’m Regina King. I’ve had a crush on you forever.

KING: Something like that.

SAGAL: Really?

ROCCA: Who do you think is the hottest person on NPR?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Wow. Terry Gross.

SAGAL: There – and she’s right.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: You’re OK saying that. What did Sam Elliott say when you told him that you had had a crush on him – or have?

KING: You know what? I think he blushed.

SAGAL: Really?

KING: I think he did. I think he did.

SAGAL: You could see that behind the mustache? That’s…

KING: I think he did.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Regina King, it is an absolute pleasure to talk to you. We’ve invited you here to play a game that we’re calling…

CHIOKE I’ANSON: I’m Not A Watchman – I’m A Watch Man.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you’re starring in “Watchmen,” so we thought we’d ask you about watch men – specifically, the people who collect luxury watches. So we read a wonderful piece by Gary Shteyngart in the New Yorker about his obsession with watches, and we’re going to ask you three questions about this particular obsession. Get two right, you win our prize. You ready to play?

KING: OK.

SAGAL: All right.

KING: Yeah.

SAGAL: Chioke, who is Regina King playing for?

I’ANSON: Benjamin Breuning of Davis, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. First question. Which of these is a real term for something that collectors look for in a desirable watch? Is it, A, emotional complications; B, nimble phalanges; or C, thick, beefy lugs?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Or, if you like, which of these things would you want to see on a Sam Elliott?

ROCCA: I was going to say…

(LAUGHTER)

KING: The big, beefy lugs.

SAGAL: You’re going to go for that. That’s right…

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: …Very good – thick, beefy lugs.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Lugs are the part of the watch that the wristband attaches to, and you want thick, beefy ones. That’s what…

ROCCA: Nice.

KING: OK.

SAGAL: All right.

POUNDSTONE: Someone wants thick, beefy ones.

SAGAL: Somebody wants them. Next question. You’ve probably seen those watches with the really enormous faces, like, the size of tea saucers that were popular just a few years ago. What do watch aficionados call those watches? A, l’horloge d’enjoliveur (ph), or French for hubcap watch; B, penis extenders…

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: …Or C, UWOs for unidentified wrist objects?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: The word penis is fun, so I’m going to go with penis extension.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You’re right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: That’s what they call them.

POUNDSTONE: What?

SAGAL: According to Mr. Shteyngart, the true watch aficionado does not care for those overly large watches and believes they are an expression of male insecurity.

KING: OK.

POUNDSTONE: I just – I don’t see the relationship between the two. Like, you look at – someone’s got a big watch, and that tells you what?

KING: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, I think it may tell you that they’re making up for something else. I think that’s the idea.

POUNDSTONE: Really?

ROCCA: For a short second hand, yeah.

POUNDSTONE: That can’t be true.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. So you’re doing really well here, Regina. You have one more.

KING: OK.

SAGAL: Luxury watches, unlike, you know, common watches, are made by hand by craftsmen. At one factory in Germany, the watchmakers work under stringent rules, including which of these? A, they’re not allowed to drink ever; B, they cannot eat Tic Tacs because they could be confused with tick tocks…

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: …Or C, they’re not allowed to eat any roughage because it’s believed intestinal gas harms the mechanism?

KING: Oh. That last one sounds fun.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: But I’m going to go with A.

SAGAL: You are right again.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

POUNDSTONE: Wow.

SAGAL: That’s great.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: It is believed by these German watchmakers that any drinking at all makes the hands shake, and you don’t want that in your luxury watch maker. So…

O’NEILL: I would like to buy a watch that’s made by a drunk person.

KING: Me too.

(LAUGHTER)

O’NEILL: Yeah, that’d be fun.

KING: It would be an original.

SAGAL: It would be. Chioke, how did Regina King do on our show?

I’ANSON: Regina King is a superhero with an Oscar. She got all three right.

SAGAL: That’s true.

(CHEERING)

POUNDSTONE: Hey, Regina, can I ask you a question? This is Paula.

KING: I knew it was. I knew it was. I love you, girl.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: That’s so sweet of you. When you were at the Academy Awards, and, you know, obviously, you didn’t know if you were going to win or not, but they put that camera right beside your head when they’re saying the nominees, did you know – had you already decided on what face you would make if you didn’t win?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You know what? I did not think that far ahead. So thank God it didn’t go that way.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I know. That would be (unintelligible). I’m going to ask you one last question, too, before I let you go. Did you do your own stunts for “Watchmen” when you’re a superhero beating people up?

KING: It’s a perfect combination of me and my stunt double.

SAGAL: Right.

KING: He’s a gymnast. I am not.

SAGAL: Right.

KING: But I am…

(LAUGHTER)

KING: So usually the punching and violent stuff – yeah, that’s me.

SAGAL: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: So here’s the question. If you had to, could you kick somebody’s ass right now?

KING: That would be a yes.

SAGAL: Yes.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Regina King is starring in “Watchmen.” It premieres on HBO October 20. It’s coming up soon – tick tock.

Regina King, thank you so much…

KING: Thank you.

SAGAL: …For joining us on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Such a pleasure to talk to you. Congratulations on everything.

KING: Thank you.

SAGAL: We look forward to more things coming. Bye-bye.

KING: Thank you. Bye.

POUNDSTONE: Bye. Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “RIDING WITH THE KING”)

JOHN HIATT: (Singing) Don’t you know we’re riding with the king? We’re riding with the king.