Oscars: 9 Writing Nominees on How Their Words Changed From Laptop to Big Screen

Courtesy of Hopper Stone

“The moment that turned out to be far different from what I thought it’d be was the scene in the bathroom between Octavia Spencer and Kirsten Dunst. Our purpose in writing it was to show what happens when the bathrooms are desegregated. You’ve got a black woman and a white woman who have been at odds, meeting in that setting at NASA.

What I hadn’t expected was the line at the end of that scene, where Kirsten says, ‘You know, Dorothy, despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all.’ Then Octavia says, ‘I know. I know you probably believe that.’ I didn’t realize how powerful that line was until the last take. We’d done it six times, and Octavia was playing it like she was one-upping Kirsten. For some reason, I said, ‘I don’t know … maybe she should forgive her with that line.’ We saw her try that on the seventh take, and suddenly, we knew that was the moment we needed to show, because most racist and sexist people don’t even know they are. I was jubilant. Octavia and Kirsten had tears in their eyes.”

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