Author Topic: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters  (Read 2457 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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EURWEB:

Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
October 11, 2011 By EurPublisher

*Octavia Spencer is humbled by the success of her smash hit movie, “The Help,” a drama primarily about the lives of Black maids in the deep South during segregation.
When it was released in August, it stayed number one at the box office for an incredible three weeks in a row, earning $123 million for the feat. That kind of staying power hadn’t been seen since the science fiction and action flick “Inception” last summer.
Part of the appeal of “The Help” was the sassy yet vulnerable maid Minny played by Spencer. Viola Davis starred with her as the other maid. Spencer’s no holds barred approach to life was just what the other maids and some of the wanna be righteous, racist white women they worked for in the early 1960′s Jackson, Mississippi, needed.
Spencer revealed that certain characteristics of Minny were based loosely on her.
“She’s feisty (and I am feisty), but not as feisty as Minny.”
Spencer is friends with Kathryn Stockett, the author of the book, “The Help,” from which the screenplay was based.
However, she had thoughts of the widow of slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, on her mind when she was playing the character.  Spencer, a native of Alabama, said she considers Mrs. Evers, born in Mississippi, to be a strong woman.
“Her husband was slain on her front doorstep. She didn’t have a trust fund to go to raise her children. She continued on in the way that he would have wanted in the struggle for justice for African Americans. That kind of strength is I think the embodiment of what I wanted Minny to have. So I drew from Miss Myrlie.”
While the movie had major success, there were a few naysayers. A handful of people, most of them bloggers, urged African Americans not to see “The Help.” Many of them hadn’t read the book. They argued that they had a problem with the story line, Black women as maids in the segregated South. To top it off the critics shouted, it was a movie based on a book written by a White woman.
Spencer believes people are entitled to their opinion. But, she admits the criticism hurt her because the movie is so positive on a number of levels.
“There are quite a few African American leading roles in a studio film. We’re not playing prostitutes. We’re playing women with great moral strength. Some of us have flawed characters. (laughs) Myself. So the fact that people were taking such a stance against the fact that we were playing maids is rather hurtful and it’s also a bit of denial. I’m glad the rest of the country didn’t listen and went out and supported the film because they wanted to. It was astonishing to me how we celebrate the debasement of African Americans playing drug dealers with low moral values but these two women who were just trying to make it and make a life for their family and make a difference in their community are not perhaps equally embraced by a few people in the African American community.”
She has been in a number of films, including the action adventure “Spider Man,” and her small role in the drama, “Seven Pounds,” that garnered her lots of critical acclaim. This time Spencer is all but certain to get much more than that.
There is no doubt coveted acting award nominations will be coming her way in 2012. Her performance in “The Help” is sure to get her NAACP Image Award and Academy Award nominations.
But, Spencer is not letting the success of the movie go to her head. She keeps it all in perspective.
“I get to choose now, whereas before the roles chose me.” However, her Minny wit comes through when asked how she would describe herself.
“I’m an over achiever and an under achiever. I think I’m just a walking contrast.”
If you didn’t get to see “The Help” in theatres, check it out on DVD on December 6.

Offline Wise Son

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2011, 10:22:11 am »
“There are quite a few African American leading roles in a studio film. We’re not playing prostitutes. We’re playing women with great moral strength. Some of us have flawed characters. (laughs) Myself. So the fact that people were taking such a stance against the fact that we were playing maids is rather hurtful and it’s also a bit of denial. I’m glad the rest of the country didn’t listen and went out and supported the film because they wanted to. It was astonishing to me how we celebrate the debasement of African Americans playing drug dealers with low moral values but these two women who were just trying to make it and make a life for their family and make a difference in their community are not perhaps equally embraced by a few people in the African American community.”
That's the only bit I don't like, as it suggests that people who disliked the movie are supporting negative portrayals of black people. This film is only coming out here in the UK soon. I have very little spare cash, but I'm genuinely interested in people's opinion here: Is it worth seeing?

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Offline Battle

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2011, 12:52:24 pm »
...I'm genuinely interested in people's opinion here: Is it worth seeing?








Did you enjoy 'The Color Purple'?

Offline Wise Son

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2011, 12:04:16 pm »
...I'm genuinely interested in people's opinion here: Is it worth seeing?
Did you enjoy 'The Color Purple'?
Umm... have never watched it without getting very distracted and not really paying attention.  :-[

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Offline Battle

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2011, 07:52:08 pm »
...I'm genuinely interested in people's opinion here: Is it worth seeing?
Did you enjoy 'The Color Purple'?
Umm... have never watched it without getting very distracted and not really paying attention.  :-[







That's too bad...

Well, that's the way you'd probably feel about 'The Help' afterall, isn't the movie  distributed by DreamWorks...?  the Amblin equivalent?. 
Around my way, I see folks with the DVD bootleg lying around and I can't bear to watch it.

Offline Redjack

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 05:30:59 pm »
actors need to work. they will justify their decisions and the way they approach their characters in a million ways. this movie may have pushed the careers of the the actresses forward and, on that score, awesome.

but, on the front of rewriting history, whitewashing hideous times, events, relationships and, y'know, the actual culture, this film scores below the COLOR PURPLE and that's pretty low. MISS DAISY low.

Personal success doesn't cancel out cultural significance and it never will.

we need to produce BETTER black filmmakers to tell BETTER black stories so this sort of conversation stops happening.
Soon you will come to know. When the bullet hits the bone.

Offline stanleyballard

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 08:14:13 am »
How are we going to produce better film when famous American film makers like Spike Lee continue to publicly bash others like Tyler Perry for his work instead of privately offering to collaborate and bring both of their careers to a new level?  Where is the ego being dropped so that we all move forward?

actors need to work. they will justify their decisions and the way they approach their characters in a million ways. this movie may have pushed the careers of the the actresses forward and, on that score, awesome.

but, on the front of rewriting history, whitewashing hideous times, events, relationships and, y'know, the actual culture, this film scores below the COLOR PURPLE and that's pretty low. MISS DAISY low.

Personal success doesn't cancel out cultural significance and it never will.

we need to produce BETTER black filmmakers to tell BETTER black stories so this sort of conversation stops happening.

Offline Battle

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 09:34:32 pm »
How are we going to produce better film when famous American film makers like Spike Lee continue to publicly bash others like Tyler Perry for his work instead of privately offering to collaborate and bring both of their careers to a new levelWhere is the ego being dropped so that we all move forward?






Good question.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’) Responds to the Film’s Haters
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 05:34:28 am »
A Spike Lee / Tyler Perry Joint?
Or if you prefer, a Tyler Perry / Spike Lee Joint?

The mind boggles. Insert your own joke here.
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