Octavia Spencer says that at that point she knew she made it in Hollywood

Octavia Spencer has made it in Hollywood in so many ways we’re losing count. From winning an Oscar to starring in a Best Picture winner to starring in a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, the Alabama native has a resume that aspiring actors dream of. But she revealed just the moment she knew she had a future in business.

While promoting the third season of her Apple TV+ series Truth Be Told, Spencer recently appeared on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, where she spoke about her successful career in show business and her upbringing in Alabama.

Before acting, Spencer worked behind the scenes as a location casting assistant after graduating from Auburn University. She said that when directors wanted to cast minor roles for different projects, they often said they wanted someone “like Octavia” to use as a reference point for casting the role. She would normally decline, but changed her mind while working in casting on the Warner Bros. production of A Time to Kill. She said director Joel Schumacher did not ask her to read for a role, although she assumed she would be asked.

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Spencer said she asked the director if she could play a character that caused a riot in a scene. “Joel Schumacher said to me, ‘No, darling. no Your face is too cute,” she recalled. “He said, ‘But you can read to Sandy’s nurse.’

“I was reading for the Sandra Bullock Nurse and I didn’t know at the time what course he would set me on.”

In the film adaptation of the 1996 novel “A Time to Kill” by John Grisham, Spencer plays the nurse who treats Bullock’s law student Ellen Roark after she was attacked by racist townspeople. Towards the end, they experience a crowd puller when they announce the fate of Samuel L. Jackson’s Carl Lee Hailey.

After opening up about Spencer’s process and her experiences transitioning from one small part to another in her career long before she won her Oscar for The Help in 2012, Maron asked when she really felt like she’d arrived in show business . It all came down to playing this nurse in the John Grisham film.

“This will shock you,” she said. “The very first part I got with Sandra Bullock. I felt like I had arrived because someone was paying me to make my dreams come true.”

Bullock won her first Oscar 13 years later for The Blind Side, while Spencer would win hers just two years after her first co-star.

The Montgomery-born actress and Auburn graduate has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her performances in Shape of Water, Hidden Figures and The Help. She won for the latter. During her speech, she thanked the state of Alabama.

Spencer has barely caught her breath since her debut in 1996’s A Time to Kill. In 2020, she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her work on the Netflix show Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam CJ Walker, which she produced with LeBron James.

She co-starred in the re-adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches on HBO Max in Alabama, in collaboration with Academy Award winners Robert Zemeckis and Anne Hathaway. Add the Apple TV+ series Truth Be Told and the movies Dolittle, Onward, and Superintelligence. She also appeared in the Apple TV+ film Spirited with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.

Spencer was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 2022.

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