Octavia Spencer on Why She Chose to Play the Deranged Loner in 'Ma'

Octavia Spencer says her character in “Ma” is unlike anything she's ever played—and she hopes that it opens the door for other women of color to take roles that break casting stereotypes.

In “Ma” Spencer terrifies as an off-kilter loner who becomes obsessed with a group of teenagers. She thought taking on the role would be something “new and interesting to do.”

“She’s unlike any character I’ve ever played,” she explained.

Spencer said that the role of Ma did not specify her race, but that it’s important to have women of color take on roles and movies they are underrepresented in.  

“I haven’t seen a Black woman in a role like this,” she said. “And I wanted to play her and I wanted to have playing her but I think that it’s important that everybody who does what I do, get to run the gambit of special characters and interesting characters and not set in one or two archetypes that they get to play.”

Spencer also said that she feels it’s her job as an actor to bring humanity to characters that she’s playing—even to her most recent suspense-filled role.  

“She exhibits a lot of traits that you can do research one,” she explained. “And once you know why she does the things that she does, I understood why she went from point A to point Z so rapidly.”

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