The Academy Award–winning actress for The Help stars as Karen, a foster care social worker, in Instant Family (Nov. 16). Her character helps Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) learn the ropes of parenthood when the couple decides to adopt three kids. Spencer, 46, also serves as an executive producer of the highly acclaimed Green Book (Nov. 21), which is already getting Oscar buzz.
How is Instant Family special? When I read the script, it made me laugh and it broke my heart in so many ways. It made me realize that there are people who exist in the world who have this capacity to love.
Who is Karen? At one point, my character was a teenager in foster care. That’s why she really promotes having the family make room for older kids, because she was one of those kids in the system.
How did you get invited to join Mark Wahlberg’s
4 a.m. workout club? I started posting my terrible workouts on Instagram and Mark was so kind and extended his hand for me to come and learn. I went to work out with his guys and get an assessment, learn my body fat. It was really about finding out all of the things you need to know for true witness.
Green Book’s Viggo Mortensen plays a bouncer hired to drive a black classical pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a tour through the 1960s American South. How does it resonate today? These are two men from disparate backgrounds who had to wnd a way to come to terms with their differences. I think the beauty of a wlm like this now is it can be a teaching tool or a leaping-off point to have very needed dialogue and not in a confrontational way.