Octavia Spencer to Star in Fox's 'Red Band Society'

Octavia Spencer
Joe Pugliese

The Fruitvale Station actress shared her excitement for women onscreen: "Well, you have a fresh crop of female writers, and men are writing better parts for women and realizing that women can open films," says Spencer. "I think we're making strides. We're not there yet, but I'm really excited about the past couple of years."

Fox's Red Band Society remake has found one of its chief caretakers in the form of an Oscar winner.

The Help's Octavia Spencer has been tapped to star in the network's remake of acclaimed Spanish series Red Band Society, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

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Red Band Society is described as a dark dramedy that focuses on the daily lives of a group of teenagers living in a hospital who become unlikely friends. The depth of the unexpected friendships allows them to survive the challenges of growing up under such intense circumstances.

Spencer will make her series TV debut in the hourlong entry and play Nurse Jackson, who works in the pediatrics ward. She's an authoritative, intuitive woman who doesn't put up with crap from anyone. She refuses to reveal emotions on the job and believes that anything she feels is nothing compared to the real pain and trauma her young patients are going through. Despite her formidable attitude, Nurse Jackson is profoundly sympathetic to the kids on her ward and can be unexpectedly nice to them.

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Boardwalk Empire's Margaret Nagle will pen the script and executive produce the ABC Studios/DreamWorks/Amblin Television entry alongside Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Sergio Aguero. Fox picked up Red Band Society with a script commitment in November and announced in January that the project was moving forward with a series prototype and backup scripts as the network takes a more forward-thinking approach to pilot season.

Spencer's casting comes after the actress, who also won a Golden Globe for The Help, was previously attached to star in a reboot of Murder, She Wrote at NBC. That project, which had a put-pilot commitment at the network, will not move forward. 

The actress has been a regular guest star on the small screen, with roles on CBS' Mom and The Big Bang Theory, NBC's 30 Rock and ABC's Ugly Betty, among others. Her film credits also include Fruitvale Station and the upcoming James Brown biopic Get Up as well as Black and White opposite Kevin Costner. She's repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman.   

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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