Octavia Spencer talks animated film debut in Disney’s ‘Zootopia’

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer is certain to win over the hearts of moviegoers with her latest starring role alongside Idris Elba, Kristen Bell, and Jason Bateman, in Disney’s 3D animated adventure Zootopia.

Spencer takes on the role of Mrs. Otterton, a desperate otter who enlists the help of the authorities in solving her husband’s mysterious disappearance.

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In an interview with theGrio, Spencer opened up about her first time starring in an animated film, and revealed her hopes of turning her children’s book series into a live action or animated film.

theGrio.com: What was your favorite part about playing Mrs. Otterton?

Octavia Spencer: My favorite thing about playing Mrs. Otterton is that my nieces and nephews will get to see what I do for a living because most of my work isn’t age appropriate. This is a huge plus for me. AND, I’m getting serious kid cache because it’s with the creators of FROZEN. I get to say I worked with people who know Elsa!!!!!

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Is shooting an animated film a more relaxed process as an actor or equally as challenging as being on set with a camera in your face?

To some, shooting an animated feature might be more relaxing but not to me. As an actor we are used to using our whole bodies to convey varying emotions in front of the camera, but with animation, it’s one hundred percent your voice. That’s sometimes difficult for me to reconcile. But it’s extremely fun.

Did you get anytime to work with Idris Elba on this film? If so, what was it like? What stands out as a memorable moment the two of your shared?

The other thing about animated work is that you rarely get to see your co-stars, so no, unfortunately I didn’t get to work with Idris. I think he is a brilliant actor and does a fantastic job in this movie.

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You have an animated children’s book series. Would you consider producing or directing an animated TV series or animated film in the future?

My book is for ages 8-12, and eventually I would like to produce it either as a live action or animated film. Directing is something on my radar, but I’m going to wait a minute before diving into those very deep waters. Right now, I’m not a strong swimmer.

What’s the message that you hope this movie sends to children?

I want kids to first ENJOY this movie for its entertainment value, and then STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN!! Always pay attention to their surroundings.

What was your favorite animated movie as a child?

My favorite animated movie as a kid was Charlotte’s Web! Those voices, the songs, the farm and then the fair. It was pure magic for me.

“Zootopia” hits theaters nationwide March 4.