In 2011, we saw Octavia Spencer play Minnie the feisty maid in The Help. Like The Long Walk Home, this was also a Civil Rights era drama involving black women who worked as domestics. The Help took place in the Deep South of the early 1960s.
When Octavia Spencer was a production assistant for that 1990 film, Whoopi Goldberg had made Hollywood history. At the time, she was one of the few black women to have a Best Actress Oscar nomination to her credit. It came for 1985's The Color Purple. She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1990's Ghost. That made Whoopi the second black woman in 50 years to win the Oscar in that category. The first was the great and groundbreaking Hattie McDaniel, the Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner for 1939's Gone With The Wind.
For The Help, Octavia Spencer would also become one of the few African-American women to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Just like Whoopi Goldberg and Hattie McDaniel before her.
If you want to hear Octavia Spencer talk about her book and her career, log onto to WNYC's website and go into the Menu section up top. Then click onto the Shows section and scroll down to find The Leonard Lopate Show. Do all that after you go here: WNYC.org.
In the interview, the actress/writer mentions that one of her dreams is to make a movie with Whoopi Goldberg. That would be a full-circle moment for the Oscar-winning former production assistant.