Los Angeles Times

Whether she's acting or producing, Octavia Spencer looks for one common element: A slice of life

LOS ANGELES - Octavia Spencer is at the point in her career where she can be selective about work. An Oscar for her supporting role in 2011's "The Help" - and nominations for 2016's "Hidden Figures" and last year's "The Shape of Water" - almost necessitates it.

But that doesn't mean she's chasing only awards-bait movies. Take, for example, her latest role in Sean Anders' "Instant Family." In theaters Nov. 16, the comedy follows Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg as a couple looking to adopt children. But they find themselves in over their heads when they welcome a trio of siblings into their home. Spencer shares most of her scenes with comedian Tig Notaro as a pair of adoption counselors who help the new parents find their way.

Ahead of the film's premiere, The Times spoke with Spencer about the role and things she learned about the foster care system in preparation for the gig. She also talked about serving as a producer for one of the year's most popular film festival offerings, "Green Book," in

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