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Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer’s role in Tate Taylor’s psychological horror film Ma feels like quite a departure from her previous roles, including in Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water. But as she tells The Hollywood Reporter In Studio, along with co-star Diana Silvers, she was looking for “something that was completely different.”
“It was a yes for me because I’m a huge genre fan. I love psycho, horror, psycho-thrillers, horror-drama, all of the above. And I wanted to do something that was completely different,” she explained.
In Taylor’s Blumhouse thriller, Spencer plays Sue Ann, a lonely, middle-aged woman who befriends a group of teenagers after agreeing to buy them alcohol, and offers her basement as a place for their parties. Things take a strange turn in the home where they abide by a set of rules, including never going upstairs.
When Silvers read the script for her role as Maggie, she was immediately drawn to the character of the “complex teenager girl.”
“I feel like so often you read a script, and females are just one trope of a person. I love that Maggie is all the things that you experience when you are a teenage girl, and in a new town,” she explained. “I, too, am a huge fan of the horror genre. I like that this is a psychological horror drama.”
For Spencer, to step into the mind of Sue Ann, who struggles with rejection, she look at and researched the specific “personality traits that Sue Ann exhibits.”
“I really exist in the true crime genre. I watch a lot of true crime, and I read a lot of true crime. So, when I start to realize, ‘Oh, she has this, and possibly this,’ I researched those disorders, then it made it easy to connect the dots,” she explained to THR. “There’s a reason she goes from point A to point Z so rapidly, and the reasons why it’s believable is because this is how her brain works. So, I spent time watching those types of documentaries about people who exhibit those personality traits.”
Ma is in theaters now.
Watch the video above to hear Spencer and Silvers also discuss how they kept the atmosphere light on set, what they’re afraid of and more.
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