It was just last week Thursday, when I published a casting item on Octavia Spencer, making special mention of just how busy she's been, in both TV and film, since her Oscar winning performance in The Help, despite suggestions by some at the time that she would face immense challenges in staying employed in Hollywood.
Well, she most certainly has stayed employed - practically non-stop!
With a handful of projects already coming down the pike, including last week's announcement that she'd be co-starring role (alongside Leslie Mann) in the DreamWorks comedy feature Las Madres - which follows three unemployed friends who decide to become bounty hunters in order to help with their dire financial predicaments - the actress has also now joined the cast of the cast of Insurgent, the second installment of Lionsgate’s Divergent franchise, to play a character named Johanna, who is the leader of the Amity faction in the dystopian world in which the film is set. The Amity faction is dedicated to peace and trust.
Spencer joins a cast that already includes star Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet in a film to be directed by Robert Schwentke from a screenplay by Brian Duffield and Akiva Goldsman.
Insurgent will be released on March 20, 2015. It'll be followed by Allegiant, the final in the franchise, which will be split into two films that are slated for release in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The first film, Divergent, wasn't quite the blockbuster that Lionsgate's other YA novel adaptation franchise was (The Hunger Games), but it's grossed $252 million worldwide thus far.
Octavia Spencer's upcoming slate includes: starring in a 2-night event mini-series on OWN, which will tell the story of the largest race riot in U.S. history, where over 300 people were believed to have been murdered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The mini-series centers on Mattie Clay (Spencer), a journalist from Tulsa, who moved to Chicago with the hopes of getting off the society pages and away from racism. Mattie's journey eventually brings her back home to Tulsa where she must face the demons of her past and decide where her future lies; Universal Pictures' James Brown biopic, Get on Up, in which Spencer plays Brown's Aunt Honey who runs a brothel; then there's Red Band Society - A TV remake of the lauded Spanish series Pulseras Rojas, which tells the story of a group of Catalan children and teenagers who meet as patients in the children's wing of a hospital. Octavia Spencer will play a Nurse Jackson, who's described as a tough, intuitive nurse who's very good at her job. But despite her hard exterior, she is very sympathetic to the kids on her ward (the project is set up at Fox, and booked a series order; She'll be co-starring with Danny Glover in the film adaptation of the YA novel The Great Gilly Hopkins, in a tale about a wisecracking 12-year old who is moved repeatedly from foster home to foster home, outwitting them all, until she meets her match; And she'll be appearing alongside Quvenzhane Wallis in the drama, Fathers and Daughters, which is based on a Black List script penned by Brad Desch; and this summer, catch her in Korean director Bong Joon-Ho's latest film, the futuristic action move Snowpiercer.