As we previously reported, Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer is set to star as entrepreneur and social activist Madam C.J. Walker in a limited drama series based on A’Lelia Bundles’ best-selling biography “On Her Own Ground.” Now Variety writes that the project has officially found a production company in LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment.
Madam C.J. Walker — who started with close to nothing in the late 1800s — found success through her “discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women.” She “managed to overcome astonishing odds, building a storied beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women, and devoting her life to philanthropy and social activism,” the source summarizes.
Although Walker’s story does not have an official home yet, Netflix rumors are percolating. Nicole Asher is set to write the script, and “Black Nativity” director Kasi Lemmons has signed on to direct the pilot. Asher and Lemmons, alongside Spencer and James, will also executive produce.
Spencer and James’ interest in the project arguably stems from a mutual end goal: to tell untold stories. As a company, SpringHill aims to “spotlight the hidden African-American figures who helped shape American history,” Variety explains. As both actress and a newly-proclaimed producer, Spencer, too, is “drawn to stories that haven’t really been told.” “I want to see all shapes and sizes, all ages, all religions,” she has said, “because that’s what our society is comprised of.”
The actress just recently shed light on Dorothy Vaughan’s story in “Hidden Figures.” Alongside Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe, Spencer introduced audiences to the true story of the African-American women who aided Nasa in the Space Race.
Her portrayal in “Hidden Figures” earned a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination. Spencer previously won an Academy Award for her role in “The Help,” and she is Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year. She will next appear in Guillermo del Toro’s other-worldly fairy tale, “The Shape of Water,” out December 8.
Octavia Spencer Teams with LeBron James for Madam C.J. Walker Series was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.