Octavia Spencer is sharing how she pulled off one particularly uncomfortable moment in her latest film, Ma.
ET's Nischelle Turner caught up with the Oscar-winning actress at the film's press day on Wednesday to discuss tackling Sue Anne, the devious woman she plays at the heart of the new psychological thriller. In the film, a group of teenagers befriends a woman in order to help them get alcohol. Soon, they are partying in her basement as often as possible. There's just one problem, Sue Anne (or "Ma" as the kids call her), has lots of secrets.
Soon, the kids find themselves getting manipulated by Ma as she seeks out revenge for her mysterious past. Among her victims is Andy Hawkins (Corey Fogelmanis), the love interest of Maggie, the film's teenage heroine. In one particularly eerie scene, Ma makes out with Andy, which Spencer explains was not easy for her to get her head around.
"Well, he looks 15 but he was really 18 but it was still very, very, very strange," the 46-year-old actress explained, later hinting at her character's motivations. "It was all Sue Anne. I was in love so that's when you have to call on the character, you know, 'cause Octavia, I'm like, 'I can't...I can't do this.'"
Octavia Spencer Is a Psycho Killer in 'Ma' and We're Here For It
Spencer also shared how the film somehow makes you root for Ma along the way despite her chilling behavior, making for an uncomfortable viewing experience as she preys upon her new teenage friends.
"Here's the thing, because that's who we are as human beings, we're empathetic," she said. "If you don't root for her AND the kids, there's something like might be a little off about you, because when you know her history, when you know her history and you don't root for her, like, 'Just turn around and don't throw another party.'"
Spencer also briefly discussed how she prepared to play such a dynamic, terrifying role, explaining that she oftentimes had to be very careful in showcasing what Ma's capable of without giving too much of her story away.
"I had to do a lot of research because she has a couple of issues that I had to work out and I thought, 'Oh, this is symptomatic of this and I don't wanna give it away'... But I was freaked out by some of the things she does," she said.
"And then she also, you have to walk that line of, is she being honest?" Spencer added. "Or is she just incapable of having those real true emotions? And I chose that she was honest with those emotions."