In the span of a month, Octavia Spencer has firmed up two The Help reunions. One is with former costar Jessica Chastain for a comedy, and the other is with director Tate Taylor for Ma, EW can confirm.
Spencer explained during the Sundance Film Festival how eager she is to veer away from period pieces, and she’s getting her wish. Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions — the banner behind films like Get Out, The Purge, and Insidious — is producing Ma, which is described as a horror-meets-psychological-thriller.
“It’s dark material, but it’s also really fun,” Taylor told Variety, which was first to report the news. “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.’”
“I wouldn’t call her a villain,” he added of Spencer’s role in the film. “It’s definitely the most complex character she’s ever played, if I may be so bold as to say that.”
Joining Spencer in Ma are horror veteran Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, House of Wax, From Dusk Till Dawn) and Beauty and the Beast actor Luke Evans, as well as Diana Silvers, Cory Fogelmanis, McKaley Miller, Dante Brown, and Gianni Paolo. Scotty Landes of Workaholics penned the script.
Filming will kick off this Monday in Mississippi, part of which will be hosted at Taylor’s mansion outside of Natchez.
“It was so serendipitous, because Octavia and I are always complaining about being offered the same s—, and I read this and thought, ‘Oh f—,’” the director remarked. “This is so f—ing weird and awesome, and I want Octavia be the lead.”
This is the latest lineup for Spencer since she entered the 2018 awards discussion with her role in The Shape of Water. Get Out, the Blumhouse release from first-time feature film director Jordan Peele, is also a multiple award nominee at this year’s Oscars.