Actress Octavia Spencer met Aysegul Ekinci prior to the 84th Academy Awards Ceremony, where she took the ‘Best Supporting Actress Award’ home. She talked about the struggle of the African-Americans in the past and about her role which won her the Oscar
She had a hard time with her role that won her the Oscar
While Octavia Spencer was nominated as one of the funniest 25 actresses of Hollywood, she is not at all funny in the role that made her win the Oscar. It’s a character that makes you really think about the problems of the black people in the bold way it is portrayed on the white screen. That’s why Octavia Spencer had a very hard time playing the ‘Minny’ character in the movie.
Octavia Spencer , ‘ I can easily forget about my diet’
Octavia Spencer was very excited when I met her in London, as she was getting ready to attend the Academy Awards Ceremony. Octavia Spencer, while trying to lose weight for the ceremony, is also a very close friend of movie’s director Tate Taylor. If Tate Taylor doesn’t remind her, Octavia Spencer will surely go off her Oscar’s diet. That’s probably why she decided to go under plastic surgery as soon as she won the Oscar. In order not to give in to a diet that she would never adhere to.
Octavia Spencer witnessed the struggles of the black race and heard stories about it from her own family. She has a hard time even talking about it. ‘When he listen to stories about wars, it seems like only stories. But everything that happened during that period was real. Just like the struggle of the black people. Just look at ‘The Help’. See it from your heart. What kind of a feeling is that? What kind of discrimination is that? Due to many reason as such, I had a hard time playing that role’ says Octavia Spencer.
Here is the interview full of sincere and heart felt confessions that we made prior to the Oscars.
‘ Racism is a fact of the past that we can’t erase’
The Help portrays the oppression encountered by the black race in a striking way. And you are an important character in that complex story. How did it make you feel?
It wasn’t an easy feeling. All that pain that our ancestors and families had to go through. I might not have experienced it but I know all about it. I heard storied about it many many times. We are already born with these pains codes into our genes. It wasn’t an easy role for me for many reasons.
You are modern black woman. In the movie you show a different era. Was it painful to go back to the past? That’s what I feel and I still wanted to ask you
Thank God, my generation is modern and at ease. We have rights. In my family, we are seven siblings. I graduated from college. We grew up being aware of everything. But when I think about the past, what my mother and grandmother had to go through. I am embarrassed to say Thank God now. That’s why when I played Minny I felt pain and a weird feeling of sourness. On the other hand, it’s very honoring to bring such an era to the white screen. And playing in such a movie is honoring as well. I especially want to take my friend and director Tate Taylor for this.
Female characters play a vital role in The Help. And strong bonds among these women are also vital. What is your take on that?
Absolutely true. Female characters are the main characters of our story. They both from black and white race. The bonds between them are very strong. For instance, the friendship between Minnie and Aibileen. They get their strength from each other and they mean everything to each other. Best friend for women is women in such a situation. In fact, we were very good friends at the set too.
That’s what I was about to ask. How was the collaboration on the set among women?
We had a lot fun and we laughed so much. We ate together. But I didn’t cook. I can’t bake as good as my character in the movie. In contrast, I can’t cook. There are great actors and actresses in the movie. Each one is more precious than other. When combined, it formed a great cast.
What do you know about Human Rights Movement?
I know what I learned from books and my family. But Tate gave us an obligated course before shooting the movie.
We literally studied history. We learned everything that went on each year. Who supported the movement. You can even see some white people who supported black race. Of course, many things changed now. But these didn’t happen in a blink of an eye. So much effort was put into it, so much blood was shed. Painful times. History didn’t happen in one day. That’s why we need to be thankful to those who made these changes possible.
We see you in different characters in different movies. How do you perceive yourself?
As you see, I’m chubby and sweet. I play roles that fit to what you see. But I started a diet for the Oscars. I’m not supposed to eat anything or eat as little as possible. We’ll see how I’ll cope with that.