Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer is partnering with three-time NBA champion LeBron James for an upcoming Netflix series about the life of African-American millionaire entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.
In an interview with Kelley Carter from ESPN's The Undefeated, Spencer, who will both executive produce and star in the project, praised James for his leadership off the court and in the boardroom. She said that it was James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, who helped her negotiate for what she deserved.
"When we were in negotiations, they had to…step up for me," Spencer said. "He and Maverick…that type of leadership has been important, and I'm thrilled about it."
Spencer continued by saying that when she would ask for certain things in meetings, James and Carter would step in and emphasize that "She deserves these things."
"It's sad that we have to do that, but they did, and that's what I'm working with: People who have no problem standing up," said Spencer.
In 2015, James and Carter launched their production company SpringHill Entertainment with the goal of creating "compelling stories for television, features and digital," according to their company website. In 2017, when their project with Spencer was first announced, James said he was excited to bring stories like Walker's to Hollywood.
"Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker," said James. "She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist and total game-changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire."
Carter echoed James' sentiments in a 2018 interview with Variety saying, "For us, this is totally about great stories and great partners. Partnering with Octavia to tell the story of Madam C.J. Walker is the ideal first project for SpringHill to take an important step into scripted drama."
Currently, Spencer says the series is still in pre-production. But she hopes that in the meantime she is able to continue to produce similarly diverse stories for Hollywood.
"I [am interested in] underrepresented communities, more female voices," she says. "I'm a person who believes that we should…not just have films that have messages but, depending on where you live in this country, you might need a little bit of escapism — just pure fun."
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