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Octavia Spencer Says She’s Tired Of The “Small” Film Roles as TV Has Opened Up New Opportunities for Black Actresses

Octavia Spencer Says She’s Tired Of The “Small” Film Roles as TV Has Opened Up New Opportunities for Black Actresses

So while we
have readers still fiercely defending Woody Allen, and the comments he made regarding why there aren’t more black
actors in his films (HERE), let’s hear from a black actor who says that, just
because she’s won an Oscar, it doesn’t mean that her life has changed, adding that it’s still an
everyday struggle.

I’m referring to Octavia
Spencer, who, in an interview in published today on the Daily Beast (HERE) said that, while things have
been good, it’s not like producers have been breaking down her door with great offers.

She states: “Well, the roles I’m being offered in
film are too small to sink your teeth into, and I thought it was time to be
able to live with a character at inception and travel with her to fruition, and
allow myself to evolve as an actress. I don’t get that opportunity in movies,
where they ask me, “Will you play the distraught mom of this boy?” I say,
“Sure, but I’ve played it before.” I wanted to play against-type, and while
people will say, “She’s playing a no-nonsense nurse,” there’s so much more to
her than that.”

Not that’s she’s bitter,
but realistic. She adds: “There are so few roles out there. And
even if it is a film that could be led by a black actress, how many times is
that film going to get funded? Let’s just be real. But it’s not just black
people. It’s Asians, it’s Hispanic people if you’re not Salma Hayek. It’s hard.
It’s hard to get films funded. It’s a business thing, and you have to change
the mindset of people around here.”

And this is the main
reason why Spencer – as Viola Davis also said a few week ago in a piece I wrote
(HERE) – admits that television seems to currently be the best venue for black actresses
and other actors of color.  She states: “In order for you to be known worldwide
if you’re not getting the introduction through films, you need to be in
television. I don’t have a problem with the medium—film or television—because
I’m an actor. I act. So if I’m able to get a part that helps me stretch myself
and evolve as an actress? Wonderful. And if I get to be a part of something
that will expand myself to a worldwide audience? Hell yeah. Sign me up!”

She agrees that television,
such as her new show "Red Band Society" for Fox, premiering on Sept. 17, is where
the real new opportunities for back actresses are, with a few exceptions: “I’m barely 44, but that’s still the
pasture, I guess. Hollywood is strange in and of itself. People dress up and
pretend to be other people, and you can either make millions of dollars, or no
money. It’s odd. But what I love about it is thank God for television, because
you wouldn’t have the diversity. Now, we’re seeing it a little more in
blockbuster movies. Thor had a multicultural cast. So did Winter Soldier. The
Amazing Spider-Man 2. To me, that’s what it should be. It baffles me that
everything is so homogenized, because the world isn’t, and yet we continue to
support things that are so incredibly milquetoast.”

So do you agree with
Spencer and Davis that television is the new medium for black actresses?

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A part of her problem is also her weight…when you are the "big" black woman….you're not going to be the girlfriend or the kick-ass warrior/fighter in a movie…throw Viola Davis in as well. They don't have the look. Now BEFORE you turn this into a color thing….there is a reason why Lupita garnered all this praise over someone like Octavia….Lupita is petit and she facially looks like a model.


It's so bloody easy for white people to whinge about black people complaining, having zero knowledge of what obstacles they face, and frankly not wanting their position of privilege to end. I'm white and I'm sick of seeing all-white casting, so I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for other communities. Sure, anyone can make a low budget film that gets minimal or no release – that's not the same thing. Here we are talking about oscar-winning actresses, hugely talented people, missing out on roles because of the colour of their skin, not because of their ability. If you pay attention, you'd find that almost all lead roles could quite easily by played by BAME actors without any impact on the script, but it rarely ever happens. Minority and disabled actors aren't cast unless there's a specific plot point revolving around that feature – got a subplot about race hate? Great, hire a black actor. Got a plot about a normal person living a normal life? White, please. It's ridiculous. Why anyone continues to defend this is beyond me – I'm sick of reading that it's about who's best for the job when that is a lie.


It's too bad the poster for the show has her labeled as a "scary bitch." Since this site won't let me post a link, for those unaware of the poster just Google "Red Band Society" and check out the promo with all of the regulars leaning against a wall. Each character gets a label, with the male lead as "the hot doc."


I agree with Octavia S and Olivia D. You go where the money is. Thats for any career. If Americans in a certain profession have a better time finding jobs that pay well (let's say teaching) overseas rather than here, should they not go where they could get a better opportunity and more pay?

In the film industry, opportunity means money. If you have far less opportunities, you are going to have far less money.


back actresses?


It's getting boring with the constant whining.
Stop looking to white ppl to realize your dreams
Unite, Organize, Create.


I wish black actors would stop whining about white Hollywood and go fund their own movies. White Hollywood don't care about black actors unless they make huge money for them. If black filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux and Ousmane Sembene can make a living from making films despite segregation and colonization, these black actors, writers, directors and producers can surely get together and pool their money to make good films at cost effective prices. It can be done!!

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