Published On: Fri, Nov 3rd, 2023

Octavia Spencer Talks Empowering Victims by Sharing Their Stories in New True-Crime Series (Exclusive)

Octavia Spencer Talks Empowering Victims by Sharing Their Stories in New True-Crime Series (Exclusive)
Octavia Spencer Talks Empowering Victims by Sharing Their Stories in New True-Crime Series (Exclusive)

Octavia Spencer is pulling double duty behind the camera for her latest projects. The Academy Award winner has teamed up with ID and Discovery to bring two new crime documentaries to true-crime aficionados like herself. 

Octavia executive produces and narrates The Lost Women of Highway 20, a three-part docuseries premiering on Sunday, that begins with a 13-year-old girl gone missing in 1990 and snowballs into multiple unsolved murders spanning two decades along a highway in the Oregon wilderness.

The actress’ second project, Feds, showcases unprecedented access to active-duty FBI agents.

While Octavia has made her mark for her work in front of the camera, the Truth Be Told star tells ET she’s excited to share her passion with her production company. “My job as an actor is to bring art that sometimes allows for moments of escapism for people in their lives, and so my job as a producer is sometimes to be of service, and doing shows like Lost Women of Highway 20 and Feds kinda nurtures that,” Octavia tells ET’s Nischelle Turner.

“With Lost Women, we get to highlight victims, tell their story and hopefully give back the voices of those women whose voices were silenced,” she adds. Octavia describes Feds as an homage and a “thank you” to the “unsung heroes who protect us every day.”

As someone who quips that she was possibly a “prosecutor in another life,” Octavia assures that her prime objective while working with ID and Discovery was to highlight the story of the victims and their families.

“As a person who definitely consumes a lot of true-crime, our goal was to present these victims and their stories in a way to highlight that they did everything right,” she explains. “I think it’s important also to note that at every iteration of this project, on every level in the development phase and while we were in production, we had a lot of women involved in the storytelling, and I think that allowed us to be very sensitive to the subject matter. We felt it gave us an empowering perspective and that’s how we wanted to present these women.”

And for Octavia, supporting women’s empowerment is a practice she preaches publicly. The actress previously made headlines for her vocal support of pop star Britney Spears during her controversial conservatorship.

In November 2021, a judge officially terminated the conservatorship, granting Britney the freedom to make personal and financial decisions, including her desire to marry and have a child. A few months later, she announced her engagement to Sam Asghari, to which Octavia famously responded via Instagram: “Make him sign a prenup.”

Days later, Octavia apologized for her comment. “Y’all, a few days ago Sam and Britney announced their engagement and me being me I made a joke. My intention was to make them laugh not cause pain,” she posted to Instagram. “I’ve reached out to this lovely couple privately to apologize and now want to restore just a smidge of happiness they were robbed of. Britney’s fans have seen her through a lot of pain and she’s found happiness. We’re thrilled for her. So let’s show them love. #nonegativity.”

But there were no hard feelings between anyone, as Sam responded, “You are very kind to clarify but I have no hard feelings whatsoever. Jokes and misconceptions come with the territory. 🙏 💯 ❤️.”

While Britney and Sam have since broken up, the singer is celebrating the release of her memoir, The Woman in Me, in which she candidly writes about her childhood, career, high-profile romance with Justin Timberlake and her conservatorship.

Octavia admits that she hasn’t “had the chance to crack” the memoir open, but says she’s proud of the singer. “People are telling their stories, and I think that’s the time to do it, to be the person to tell your own story,” she says.

Lost Women of Highway 20 airs on Nov. 5, at 9/8c on ID. The new series Feds premieres Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 10/9c on ID. 


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