Octavia Spencer is taking a break from her typical Oscar-nominated, historical period fare to try her hand at a psychological horror/thriller, in the shape of Blumhouse Productions' Ma. The project will also reunite Spencer with her The Help and Get On Up director, Tate Taylor.
Taylor shared that he and Spencer have been frustrated over the lack of variety in the projects that have been coming their way of late. He revealed the excitement he felt when the Ma script fell in his lap. "[I] read this and thought, ‘Oh f—. This is so f—ing weird and awesome and I want Octavia to be the lead," he said. Friends since before they made it big in Hollywood, Taylor realizes this is unusual territory for Spencer, but he assures fans that the Oscar-winner is more than capable of handling the "dark" but "fun" material. This will also mark Taylor's introduction to the genre, as he has not directed a horror film before. He does have some experience with tense, thrilling scripts though, having directed Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train adaptation.
Taylor is keeping Spencer's role in Ma a secret for now, simply promising Variety that her turn as the not-quite-a-villain character will be her most complex role to date. Spencer will be joined by fellow Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear) and Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast) in the Blumhouse produced film.
Blumhouse has been on a roll with its horror movies of late, between the Best Picture Oscar-nominated Get Out and the box office success of films like Split and Happy Death Day. Blumhouse has also managed to land a bunch of high-profile upcoming features, including director David Gordon Green's Halloween sequel/reboot and Todd McFarlane's developing Spawn reboot. The production company has also landed a groundbreaking TV deal with the streaming site Hulu. Given Blumhouse's success with these types of creepy stories, it's a safe bet that Ma will make a splash at the box office when it arrives.
Taylor is looking forward to beginning filming on his 100-acre Mississippi land on Monday. He and Spencer lived together when they first arrived on the Hollywood scene, and the actress will be rooming with him during the film's shoot. Taylor excitedly announced his plans to shoot the horror film by day and hang out with his friends and castmates by night. "It’s going to be a blast,” he said. “We’ll be living in my house in Mississippi and shooting on my land during the day, and then making dinner and telling stories and breaking bread later that night.”
Ma doesn't have an official release date yet. We will let you know when that changes.