Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Now We Know for Certain Whether Ava DuVernay Will be Directing Marvel’s ‘Black Panther' Now We Know for Certain Whether Ava DuVernay Will be Directing Marvel’s ‘Black Panther' Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) ABC Is Rebooting 'To Tell the Truth' with Anthony Anderson & NeNe Leakes ABC Is Rebooting 'To Tell the Truth' with Anthony Anderson & NeNe Leakes ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

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

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act July 31, 2014 at 6:19PM

Joining the chorus, Octavia Spencer says that television seemingly appears to be the new golden opportunity for black actresses looking for challenging roles.
9
Octavia Spencer

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?

This article is related to: Octavia Spencer


Shadow & ActNewsletter