On Friday, I had the opportunity to interview Octavia Spencer who played Minny Jackson one of the main characters in The Help. Many of Minny’s characteristics were taken from Octavia and her personality. Octavia described herself as defiantly being feisty and someone that speaks up for herself and that Kathryn Stockett the author of The Help used her as character inspiration.
“Kathryn Stockett very loosely based well, the character of Minny on me and it’s basically my physicalities (being short and round) she met me on a day I would say I was not really feisty, but I was completely irritable.”
After watching The Help myself, I found Minny to be the spunk and humor the movie needed to lighten the subject matter. The Help made me cry my eyes out. I cried and cried as I watched the sets of women the movie portrayed and all of their different struggles. I cried in the beginning as they illustrated that Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) had lost her own son. I cried when Celia lost her baby. I cried when I found out Minny was an abused wife and the cruelty she suffered at the hands of Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard). But it was Minny’s feistiness and that very special chocolate pie that brought some sunshine of revenge into laughter.
Most everyone I know that has seen The Help in theaters cried, so when it was my turn to ask a question I had to know if Octavia cried.
“I did cry when I watched the film…there’s so many scenes that made me cry but I have different reactions because they were evocative of other things. So just the last thing without giving anything away…definitely the scene were Minny finds Celia in the bathroom…um..yeah there were just other moments that nobody else knows would be emotionally moved by…I think it’s where ever you are emotionally that you’re response…that would honor a certain response.”
She’s exactly right, being a mother of very young children myself, any scene children were involved in made me get emotional in some way. As the subject matter was very serious Octavia was asked what she hopes people would take away from the film.
“I hope people will take away the sense of humanity and the strength of the bond that these women from culturally different backgrounds were able to come together and basically change their community..I find it remarkable…the triumphs of the young”
When people ask me about The Help, I tell them they will cry, they will get emotional. Almost everyone says, then I’m going to wait to go see it. No, don’t wait to go see it, you need to see this movie in the theater and take all your friends with you. Take your support group with you and you can all cry and laugh together. It’s a movie about hard times, but it’s also about how these women band together and build strength and stand up to the injustices that they live with. There is triumph at the end of the movie.
Photos and interview courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures The Help.