If you’re in the process of mentally listing new shows to look forward to, you may want to add another one to the list. Variety reports Octavia Spencer will star in a new original drama series created by Apple called, “Are You Sleeping?” The series will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Chernin Ent/Endeavor Content. This is the second project Apple has teamed with Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine on so far.
“Are You Sleeping?” is based on a novel of the same name by Kathleen Barber and gives a glimpse into the obsession with true crime podcasts and “challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.”
However, if you want to see the Oscar winner on screen a little sooner, you can catch her Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” which is currently in theaters. Spencer plays Zelda, a cleaning lady in a Cold War U.S. bunker, who takes a pivotal role in protecting the romance between her co-worker, Elisa, a mute played by Sally Hawkins, and enigmatic sea creature (Doug Jones).
Spencer who has given amazing performances on the big screen in movies like “The Help” and “Hidden Figures”, recently sat down with Deadline to talk diversity in Hollywood and how winning an Oscar has changed her career. Spencer says she’s once again playing a cleaning lady, but her role as “Zelda” is a little different:
“’The Help’ was a turning point after the Oscars. Nobody knew what to expect before the movie opened, so after filming there was a lull. I booked ‘Snowpiercer’ before there was any awards conversation. Then I was getting offered every maid role. None of them were as significant or interesting or had integrity to the story. Now along comes a cleaning lady role that is different from all others. This is the third time I played a woman from this era: Minny Jackson (The Help), Dorothy Vaughan (Hidden Figures), and Zelda. She feels contemporary of that time. She’s a second class citizen without civil rights, but at the same time, it’s part of her personal narrative.”
She also says when it comes to diversity in Hollywood, the solution isn’t so black and white:
“Here’s the thing with diversity: It doesn’t just mean brown skin; it means African American, Latino, Asian, overweight actors, actors with disabilities. It means actors of different age groups. We have to turn to other people who are underrepresented.”
“People might say again this year that it’s #OscarsSoWhite. While I understand the outrage, I think it’s misplaced. As an actor, it’s hard to get an Oscar nomination. Awards are the end of the line. Just say, ‘Movies so white.’ Just start with how movies are being funded. If you’re lucky to be part of a group that’s award-worthy at the end of the year, you’re lucky. The reward is having the movie made, and if you get to the point of awards, that’s great.”