Octavia Spencer plays the tough, yet loving Nurse Dena Jackson on FOX’s series Red Band Society, and the Academy Award-winning actress took some time to speak with us when we had the opportunity to visit the set.
We don’t know much about Nurse Jackson’s backstory at the moment, so when asked about if we’ll find out more about why Nurse Jackson is Nurse Jackson. Octavia coyly answered, “I can tell you that you will see a side of Nurse Jackson that you definitely would not have seen coming. I didn’t see it coming, and it’s pretty gratifying. It’s completely different from her persona in the hospital, which I love.”
Although her character takes no mess, she definitely has a soft spot for the children she cares for. When we asked her about what playing this type of role has changed within her she replied, “I have always been a person who, I think- I’m going to sound so cliche saying ‘I believe the children are our future’ but I do believe that and I do believe your childhood is, should be, magic. It should be magical, because that makes you into the adult that you’ll become, or hopefully allows for that.”
She also added, “I didn’t know that there was a distinction between a children’s hospital versus a regular hospital. One of the things that they do is they allow for kids to be kids, and if they early part of your life or the teenage part of your life, some part of your childhood is spent in a hospital, you know, one would hope that you have some magical moments. And this has changed me in a way that I definitely understand the need for that. I do.”
When it comes to the relationship between Dr. McAndrew and her character Octavia admits, “Dr. McAndrew and Jackson have their own language and sometimes friendships, you know, with work relationships can get kind of muddled. The lines are blurred between who is powerful, even though in your personal life you get to speak your mind not necessarily so in a work relationship.”
Finally, we asked Octavia about her thoughts on the boom of successful black actresses, such as Kerry Washington and Halle Berry, moving toward television in the more recent years. “To be honest with you, Kerry is going to do movies and television, Viola’s going to do movies, I have a few- thank you Jesus- and this job- thank you Jesus- that I get to do. I think that more challenging roles with women as leads,” Octavia continued, “I’m thrilled that there are so many African American women, and I want to see more Asian and Latin. I think there should be a broader spectrum of color, and what we see in our world should be on our television. I’m all about that. But I think it’s really and truly about the roles that are offered and this character, the fact that I get to see her grow, or not grow.
“I think it’s really about those roles. I don’t think that you quit doing film because why would you? But why would you not do television? I’ve never been that type of- actors act… I would never not do one medium versus the other because you take roles that are challenging and fun and to me they’re the same.”
You can watch Octavia’s full (and fun!) interview below:
A new episode of Red Band Society airs tonight at 9pm on FOX!
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