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Exclusive interview: Octavia Spencer talks her new movie Gifted


Arriving in Cineworld on 16th June, Gifted is the moving story of a young child prodigy caught in a custody battle between her uncle and grandmother.

With an A-list cast led by veterans Chris Evans, Lindsay Duncan and Octavia Spencer, plus an attention-grabbing starring role from newcomer McKenna Spencer, the movie promises to play on the heartstrings.

We were delighted to catch up with Octavia, who plays central character Mary’s caregiver, Roberta, on how she found the essence of her character and the message of the movie. So here’s what Octavia had to say about Gifted

On Roberta...

"Roberta is…she’s Frank and Mary’s landlord and she’s also an emotional support for both Frank and Mary. She’s apart of their extended family. Sure, I think everyone needs a type of Roberta in their life; a person who is supportive and nurtures the spirit. So sure."

On the importance of her character...

"I think she’s street smart. And to know that this child is advanced; as advanced, she spent so much time with Mary and she knows that you know if Mary is put in a public school setting, that it’s only a matter of time before it’s discovered how intelligent she is. And she knows that once that happens, that the dynamics of the family will definitely change. I don’t know that she’s right in telling him that he should keep her out of school, but I love that she you know is you know very deductive in how she approaches her reasoning."

On how she found Roberta...

"I think a lot of Roberta is on the page. You understand who she is because she sees this young single guy devoting his life to this little girl and she also wants him to still be able to you know have a life of his own. And you know you kind of draw from that and build a character out from the stuff that you know that’s on the page. But she’s pretty straightforward."

On starring opposite McKenna Grace...

“Oh, McKenna’s just you know very much a breath of fresh air. She’s a little professional and a workhorse. But she’s also an activist you know. She loves animals and she is vegetarian, and she doesn’t want anyone to eat animals, and I had to constantly upset her cause I ate animals all the time. But you know you love that child. When you meet her you know that she lights up a room. And you know you just want to make the best environment for her to excel."

On working with director Marc Webb...

"I love Marc. One of the reasons I signed on to do the project was because I knew that he would be directing it and I think he’s you know a visionary. And it’s apparent in how he makes you experience all of these earned emotions by the time we’re done with the film. I remember experiencing that when I watched 500 Days of Summer. So I couldn’t wait to see what he did with Gifted. And of course I wasn’t disappointed."

Watch Octavia and the rest of the cast in Gifted, arriving in Cineworld on 16th June.