Last summer, Rush Hour producer Arthur Sarkissian told me he wanted Octavia Spencer to play Jackie Chan’s wife in Rush Hour 4. I’ve been trying to get an interview with Spencer all year to get her reaction, and what better place for it to finally happen than at Cannes. Sitting on the beach of La Croisette in a roundtable for her drama Fruitvale Station, I told Spencer about Sarkissian’s suggestion.
“Well, he better sign on the dotted line,” she said. Turns out she’s up for it, but understandably she spun it in context of her current movie, a drama about the real life violence that occurred at a San Francisco BART station.
“Oh sure, I’m up for it but here’s the thing,” Spencer continued. “I want to play a role that helps me stretch as an actor. If I’ve been there done that, because [people say] ‘You’ve played a downtrodden mom so many times.’ I was like, no, I haven’t played a downtrodden mom so many times. I’ve played a woman who happened to be a mom, but the character that I played in The Help, her being a mom was the reason why she went on that journey, because she wanted a better life for her kids. This is a totally different thing. She’s a mom who lost her son in a very tragic and meaningless way. By allowing his story to be told, hopefully it’s like a healing process for other moms who are in that exclusive club, but also a mending type of balm so that people can start really examining how we interact with each other as human beings."
"So yeah, I’m open to it, but it can’t be been there done that.”
When I pointed out that she hasn’t played the wife of a martial artist before, Spencer smiled before moving on to the next question.
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