Oc­tavia Spencer

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - Personality - WAL­TER SCOTT ASKS

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.

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