As Variety looks back on memorable conversations from 14 seasons of “Actors on Actors” in honor of this year’s awards season, Octavia Spencer’s role in Amazon Studios’ Riz Ahmed-starrer “Encounter” calls to mind her appearance in a 2016 episode with Dev Patel. During the conversation, she told Patel that she’s learned to prioritize complex roles and avoid typecasting in her career.

She also opened up about her breakthrough role in Tate Taylor’s 2011 film “The Help,” where she played maid Minny opposite an all-star cast that included Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain. She was lauded for the balance of pain and humor in her performance, which earned her both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best supporting actress, but her newfound popularity came with certain complications.

“Right after I did ‘The Help,’ [when] it was barely in the can, I was so excited about the possibilities that were to come. And 90% of the roles, [people would say], ‘We have this great role for you,’ and it was a maid,” Spencer said. “And I’m thinking, ‘You know, here’s the thing. I just played the best damn maid role written. I don’t have a problem playing a maid role again, but it has to top this one.’ And none of them did.”

“So for me, it was about just looking in different places,” she said. “Exploring different directors who hadn’t earned their stripes in Hollywood, but they were great talents and you could see it because they were also writer-directors. And just sitting it out, waiting for those great roles.”

Watch the upcoming season of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors,” presented by Amazon Studios, starting on Jan. 24.