Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer will reunite with the director that guided her to her Oscar for “The Help.”
Spencer joins a cast that includes Luke Evans and Juliette Lewis.
Tate Taylor made his directorial debut with the 2008 film “Pretty Ugly People,” which starred Missi Pyle and Melissa McCarthy. His follow up was the 2011 Best Picture nominee, “The Help.” That film scored Academy Award nominations for Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis, in addition to a win for Octavia Spencer.
Taylor went on to work with Luke Evans in the adaptation for “The Girl on the Train.” Evans also starred in last year’s second highest-grossing film, “Beauty and the Beast.” He can currently be seen tracking down 19th century serial killers in the TNT series, “The Alienist.”
Juliette Lewis was nominated for an Academy Award for her breakout performance in the thriller remake, “Cape Fear.” She recently starred in the series “Wayward Pines” and “Secrets and Lies.”
Octavia Spencer is a three-time Academy Award nominee. In addition to winning for “The Help,” she was also nominated for last year’s “Hidden Figures,” and is currently up for “The Shape of Water.” Her upcoming projects, though, are decidedly moving away from period films. She will soon star in a holiday-themed comedy with Jessica Chastain. Moving into a horror/thriller film will be a new adventure for the actress.
In discussing his decision to cast Spencer for her role in “Ma,” Taylor told Variety:
“It’s dark material, but it’s also really fun. Octavia is so damn likable that we usually see her in certain roles. But she’s such a good actress and this is such a complex character that if I do my job right, people in the audience are going to want to push pause and say, ‘Can we please take you out for coffee so you don’t do what you’re about to do.'”
While he wouldn’t give any specifics about her role or the story itself, Taylor did continue to say:
“I wouldn’t call her a villain. “It’s definitely the most complex character she’s ever played, if I may be so bold as to say that.”
“Ma” is produced by Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions, and should begin filming soon in Mississippi.