Octavia Spencer is Your New (Movie) God

By  · Published on March 6th, 2015


Octavia Spencer is about to follow in both Whoopie Goldberg and Morgan Freeman’s footsteps once again. First she received an Oscar for a supporting performance, just like them. Now she’s going to play God, just like them.

Of course, a lot of people have played the monotheistic deity throughout cinema. Here are some of the most memorable, in addition to Freeman’s character in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty and Goldberg’s in A Little Bit of Heaven: George Burns in the Oh, God! trilogy, Alanis Morissette in Dogma, Val Kilmer’s voice in The Prince of Egypt (double-duty opposite himself as Moses), John Huston’s voice in his own film The Bible: In the Beginning (double-duty opposite himself as Noah) and my favorite, Ralph Richardson in Time Bandits.

Spencer has been cast in the role in The Shack, a movie based on the best-selling 2007 Christian novel of the same name by William P. Young. According to Variety, she will be directed in the movie by Stuart Hazeldine (Exam). John Fusco (Hidalgo) wrote the screenplay, and Gil Netter (Life of Pi) and Brad Cummings (2012’s animated Noah) are producing.

Here’s the official synopsis of the book:

Mackenzie Allen Philips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant, “The Shack” wrestles with the timeless question “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.