Octavia Spencer to Play God in Lionsgate’s Adaptation of ‘The Shack’ (EXCLUSIVE)

octavia-spencer red band society
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Octavia Spencer is in final negotiations to play God in Lionsgate’s adaptation of the bestselling novel “The Shack.”

Stuart Hazeldine is directing the pic, with Gil Netter producing through Netter Productions along with Brad Cummings. Production is set to start this spring.

Based on the William P. Young novel published in 2007, the story follows a man whose youngest daughter is abducted during a family vacation, with evidence found in an abandoned shack leading authorities to believe she was murdered. Four years later, the man receives a note, apparently from God, inviting him back to the shack and, against his better judgment, he accepts the invitation and finds something there that will change his life forever.

The book adaptation would be a major project for Lionsgate, which acquired it in 2013, as it has sold more than than 18 million copies worldwide in 39 languages, with 10 million in the U.S.

The role looks like another strong opportunity for Spencer, who won an Academy award for her role in “The Help.”

Spencer has been busy since her Oscar win, balancing her time between dramas, tentpoles and TV roles. In 2014, she appeared in “Snowpiercer,” James Brown biopic “Get on Up,” and Relativity drama “Black and White,” for which she received some of her strongest reviews since “The Help.”

This year she will be seen next in “Insurgent,” the follow-up to the box office hit “Divergent,” followed by Voltage pic “Fathers and Daughters.”

She is repped by WME and Jackoway, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Austen, Mandelbaum, Morris & Klein.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 75

Leave a Reply

75 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Andy S says:

    I was at uni with Stuart, great guy, really down to earth, likeable, genuine, with a sharp sense of humour. He was bonkers about films even back then, once begging a 20th Cent Fox sweatshirt off me that my Dad had got while helping Rupert finance buying it. I’m so excited for him to be directing The Shack as I rated the book very highly – many a tear was shed. He deserves every success and I’ll be praying this inevitable (!) blockbuster doesn’t change him too much ;) Go Stu!

  2. Karen Hernandez says:

    Excellant choice!!! Octavia looks and portrays exactly what i read.

  3. Karen Blessing says:

    I have read this book probably 7 times and each time I enjoy it more and more…I have recieved healing from this book and it has brought me even closer to God…I recommend it to everyone and even bought 10 books to give away…I will continue to reread this book again and again…

  4. CLAIRE says:

    DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT GOD BEING PORTRAYED AS A WOMAN….READ THE BOOK~ THAT IS THE WAY THIS EXTRAORDINARY BOOK WAS WRITTEN. DON’T JUDGE WITHOUT READING THE BOOK FIRST. YES, THIS IS A NOVEL, PEOPLE. OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, I HAVE READ THIS WONDERFUL BOOK THREE TIMES, AND AS A PRACTICING CATHOLIC, IT MAKES ME THINK AND EVERY TIME I READ IT OR REFER TO IT, I READ SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND SEE THINGS IN A LITTLE DIFFERENT LIGHT. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE, JUST WONDERING IF IT WILL LIVE UP TO THIS SENSATIONAL BOOK.

  5. danmacre says:

    Anyone but OPRAH

  6. Twink says:

    She has chops, go Octavia!

  7. Fidel007 says:

    George Burns was better looking.

  8. Fed Up says:

    Now this is funny. Won’t be seeing this movie for sure!

  9. elainehawk50 says:

    God the father…remember that line…and Jesus always referred to him as my father in Heaven. PERIOD.

  10. Keith Diggs says:

    The SHACK is a bunch of FALSE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, so it makes perfect sense that Hollywood would get behind it .

  11. jcb says:

    From the headlines, I thought they were talking about The Beatles movie “Help”

  12. Charley Bell says:

    Good for her I guess. If she really wanted to be provocative and courageously change the norms, in your face as it where, she’d play Mohammed. There may be words of disagreement, showing distaste of a woman playing God, however, words are where it typically stops and it will just give her and the production more advertisement. There is a reason the powers that be at studios, or actors/actresses, musicians, have no problem mocking the Christian God. But Islam? Only a couple have had the courage to use their “artistic talent” to portray him, and then only a simple cartoon. Never would they have the guts to mock Islam, much less have a woman play the part of Mohammed. Death threats would likely be made and carried out. Of course our own President has stated on the world stage that “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”. It’s open season on Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc. though.

  13. BILL DRAGOMIR says:

    A woman playing God ? That is way beyond conventional thinking and not likely to go over very well.

  14. Some of you are simply Crazy. Octavia Spencer is a wonderful actress and this is an adaptation of a wonderful novel. Take your nutty useless observations and stick them somewhere other than message boards.

  15. Defiant says:

    I know this is (somehow) earth-shattering news…but maybe someone should tell Octavia that a black person has ALREADY portrayed God on the silver screen…

  16. Vania G says:

    Yahhhhhhh! I love Octavia – looking forward to seeing the movie! Her talent is God given…

  17. TOM says:

    They couldn’t offer the role to Mo’nique?

  18. Jack Baldwin says:

    Holy Crap, I did not know who the person was from the name, and clicked due to seeing a woman cast as a god in dogma. That said, I could so see this woman as the role of God, from characters I’ve seen her play, I can picture her as God.

  19. I miss Charlton Heston.

  20. Rosemarie says:

    The book is amazing and she is perfect for the part. I’m s not excited to see the movie!

  21. bengal62 says:

    dumb idea.

  22. Lola Guin says:

    Numbers 23:19-“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

    God is the greatest spirit that exists. The spirit possesses no sex chromosomes, genitalia, or gender. Jesus obviously was a male, but God and the Holy Spirit possess no sex. This is the teaching of most every Christian denomination, including Catholicism. God is sexless. “Father” is symbolic. The Earth is not female and time is not male. “Mother Earth” and “Father Time” are examples of symbolic language as well. Any human portrayal of the Prime Mover, God is inherently inaccurate because God is not organic nor does God possess sex organs. God created male and female. They did not exist before God.

    • Ornley Gumfudgen says:

      Lola

      So how do you handle the passage of scripture in Genesis that states, “Let us make man in our image?” Also, if you recall from scripture, it appears that man, a male, was created first and a woman, female, was created afterwards. The passage of scripture you have quoted simply says that God is not a man that needs to lie or repent. If you also look at the sentence structure in the language in which it was recorded you will see the He is masculine, meaning male. Or do you believe that He allowed his prophets to write it down incorrectly? Wouldn’t be the all powerful God we believe in if he could allow those mistakes to be incorporated into his word.

    • just my 2 cents says:

      Uh, yeah God is man. The passge you quotee says he is not a man, meaning, he is not required to sleep or repent because he is God….not that he is not a man. God is reffered to as “HE” all the time.

  23. williaml says:

    A woman to play God?
    when will Hollywood ever stop

  24. Lynn says:

    Great book. It will most likely be a great movie.

  25. Lola says:

    Numbers 23:19-“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

    God is the greatest spirit that exists. The spirit possesses no sex chromosomes, genitalia, or gender. Jesus obviously was a male, but God and the Holy Spirit possess no sex. This is the teaching of most every Christian denomination, including Catholicism. God is sexless. “Father” is symbolic. The Earth is not female and time is not male. “Mother Earth” and “Father Time” are examples of symbolic language as well. Any human portrayal of the Prime Mover, God is inherently inaccurate because God is not organic nor does God possess sex organs. God created male and female. They did not exist before God.

  26. Fergnation says:

    There will never be a better God in a movie than George Burns!!

  27. Serenity Johnson says:

    Octavia Spencer kicks ass! Anyone who disagrees is dumber than Kenny and Sebass combined. Keep doing what you do Tavi!

  28. Leone says:

    It’s bad enough Hollywood routinely engages in the wussification of America without shame or conscience…But now they feel compelled to emasculate God, Himself?

    Is there no more honorable way to make a buck on the West Coast?

  29. James T. Blackwell says:

    I wouldn’t want to stand before the Judge in that day and attempt to explain why I thought I could depict Him in a silly movie. He is unfathomable, He dwells in unapproachable light, He is holy beyond man’s ability to comprehend, He alone is the great I AM. He does not need anyone to depict Him in a movie to help others understand who He is; God is manifestly revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ. Read the Bible and ask Him to to reveal Himself to you. You will not need this Hollywood tripe to believe on His Name and be saved.

  30. Sean says:

    When I saw the headline, I knew what movie it would be since I’ve read the book. It was an excellence book on forgiveness and we couldn’t keep it in stock at the Christian book store where I was working when it came out. Unfortunately, some of our customers pitched a fit over God being portrayed as a woman. If they had read the book, they would have seen that it was for a reason. **SPOILER ALERT** The main character had a bad relationship with his father and God explained that He knew he wouldn’t respond well to a father figure so He came in a strong nurturing female form who was regularly referred to as Papa.

    To those who said things like “God the Father, Jesus the Son”, “God is a man”, “God can’t be female”. Aren’t you putting a limitation on God’s abilities? I would think that He could be anything He wants to be if it serves His purpose. Don’t forget “God the Burning Bush”. Isn’t that the form He used by way of the angel of the Lord, when He came to to Moses? Even the Holy Spirit came as a Dove at Jesus’ baptism.

    And before we all start beating our Bibles and insulting people, which is surely not going to win people to Christ, it might be good to remember that this is not a book documenting Biblical events. It is a book illustrating the importance of forgiveness written in a way that would make it easier for those who aren’t familiar with the Bible to understand. And if it plants the seed to make someone want to learn more… and through that they look for and find God… I’m good with that.

  31. Rich says:

    I am a Catholic and since God is not black, or white or any other color and God is not male or female I am OK with the idea. Better would have been to have God being played by several people. All colors, both sexes. The fact the church refers to God as the Father is just a metaphor held over from times when that was the best description to use. In today’s world I do not think God will care and long as we threat the message of God with respect.

  32. Droogie says:

    I figure God is a woman cause she keeps screwing with the thermostat.

  33. Defiant says:

    Give this a weekend at the theaters…and then it will be on TV1, Centric, Aspire, and Bounce–on a CONSTANT basis! LOL! Doing battle with all 20 shows that begin with “Tyler Perry’s”! LMAO!

  34. Mikey says:

    That no one will see.

  35. mayanah schneider says:

    God doesn’t Play!

  36. keith says:

    I loved her in the help but there is no way I will,watch her play God.

  37. Gary says:

    How can she play God? She doesn’t look at all like Oprah!

  38. ‘Hollywood’ does NOT know god, no matter the actor/actress…

  39. Mary Rose Proper says:

    Mo’nique should take a mint, sit down, and take a lesson from her sister Octavia. Class is Octavia! She is also an excellent actress!

  40. Notch Johnson says:

    God is a white man, PERIOD!

    • Ornley Gumfudgen says:

      Really? I mean really? Of course you know that Christ was not a white man don’t you? Are you aware that Christ IS God in the flesh? If you read and study your Bible you should know that because it’s exactly what Christ said he was. So how can you ignorantly claim that He white? Seems to me you have some serious racial issues.

  41. Tara says:

    Reading the comments, I am wondering how many of you actually read the book..In the book the Holy Trinity is takes human form in the following ways the Father appears as a large African-American woman who loves to cook, the Holy Spirit is called Sarayu a small Asian woman who is translucent and gardens, and Jesus is a middle-age man, presumably of Jewish descent, who is a carpenter. No Hollyweird agenda.

    • Donna Bailey says:

      I think all these posting negative comments haven’t bothered to read the book. Therefore, they have no idea what they are talking about. I loved the book. I am usually disappointed when any book that I have read is turned into a movie but I will definitely be checking it out!!

    • Volcanic Surfer says:

      Leftist idiots really get off on this shock value and “creativity” (I guess swapping races and sexes automatically gets you a gold star for “creativity”, even if it’s been done a thousand times already).

    • Lindi says:

      Tara, there is a real problem with casting God the FATHER as a woman, whether done in Hollywood, or in a book. Regardless of the warped agenda on ‘gender’ blah blah, women are not and can not be FATHERs. While the argument against casting the Holy Spirit as female is a little less obvious, God the FATHER is male, so apparently the author of the book is either pushing an agenda out of ignorance or something else. I will leave the motive for the author and God to decide.

      • Lola Guin says:

        Lindi- So, you’re claiming that God has XY chromosomes and a penis??? “Father” is a symbolic word. Like much of the Bible, it is not meant to be taken literally. Research Catholic and broader Christian theology. God possesses no sex because God is a spirit, not an organic being.

  42. Bewah says:

    And here I thought Alanis Morisette was God. Anyone remember Dogma?

  43. George Burns already did it. ;)

  44. Kaptain Kanada says:

    I consider this article as a warning. One more bit of Hollyweirdian tripe to avoid. I’ll spend my money on a live musical concert or a book instead.

  45. Nanny Mo says:

    Yikes! And Double Yikes!

  46. Muave Avenger says:

    Darn, I was hoping they were talking about Eleanor Bron.

  47. peterwoohoo says:

    WOW! Can’t wait for this. LOL We think, therefore we are.

  48. edwardo says:

    God is a man! how do I know? because men die younger, and leave women to sit her in their own rap!

  49. Miley says:

    I understand she is going to be the next James Bond too.

  50. Mike says:

    Well…There’s another movie I’m gonna miss.

More Film News from Variety

Loading