*In “Paradise,” Octavia Spencer plays the character of Loray, who is described as an intellectual character comfortable in her skin but not defined by it; which is a contrast to her role in “Fruitvale Station.”
“She is an educated hipster with a point of view, and we get to see that point of view played out on screen,” Spencer tells theGrio. “It’s an archetype I definitely haven’t played.”
As an Oscar award-winning actress, Spencer has really come into her own and helps cultivate new found African American stories that are finally getting some shine in Hollywood.
Spencer believes her character in “Paradise” is a realistically good take on blackness that movies haven’t captured much of.
“I don’t think there is one way that black people are versus one way that Asians are, [etc.] I think it’s just how things are depicted that it becomes the norm,” Spencer says. “I have the most eclectic, wackiest group of friends that there are, and that, I think, for the most part is most of the people I know. There’s just not one way of being.”
Some voices in Hollywood have recently spoken out on white directors taking on black films, such as filmmaker John Singleton, who openly criticized “The Help,” which stars Spencer and was directed by Tate Taylor. Singleton told The Hollywood Reporter that the scenario of white-helmed African-American stories is a “troubling trend” that may hurt black filmmakers while taking away from the movies’ authenticity.
However, Spencer disagrees with Singleton’s criticism but does acknowledge a different issue.
“Black directors don’t get the funding for their films,” she comments. “That’s the problem, not that white directors are telling these stories. It’s a Catch-22 really.”
“Do I feel that white directors have to tell only white stories? No. Do I feel that black filmmakers should only tell stories about black people? No,” she continues. “If we say that, then that means Asian people cannot write about anybody but Asians. I don’t think a woman should only write about women…I think you, as an artist, you are driven by what compels you to tell that story.”
Read more at TheGrio.