Oscar-winning actress and producer Octavia Spencer has signed a deal with ID, discovery+ and October Films. Under her production company, Orit Entertainment, and alongside October Films, Spencer will develop and produce premium unscripted true-crime content for ID, the leading true-crime network, and streaming service discovery+. Production for two projects is already underway, with other titles currently in development.
“Octavia is a creative force who brings a level of unparalleled curiosity and honesty to every story she tells. Upon learning that she and her amazing team at Orit share a deep passion for crime and investigative content, and had joined forces with our trusted partners at October, we knew this was a relationship we wanted to invest heavily in,” Jason Sarlanis, President of Crime and Investigative Content, Linear and Streaming at Dicovery Inc, said in a statement. “This unique collaboration brings together one of the best production entities in the business, a superstar talent who also happens to be a super-fan with Octavia and Orit, and the biggest brand dedicated to the true-crime genre.”
Spencer launched Orit Entertainment in 2019. She runs the entertainment company alongside partner and producer Brian Clisham and head of production and development Stephanie Kluft. Previous projects include Truth Be Told for Apple, Self-Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam C.J. Walker for Netflix and produced with LeBron James and SpringHill Entertainment, and the documentary short Right to Try. Orit currently also has a three-year deal with ABC Signature.
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Spencer was the recipient of the Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 2011 film The Help. She was nominated for the same award in 2017 and 2018 for her work in The Shape of Water and Hidden Figures.
Highway 20: The First Project Under the Partnership
Highway 20 starts with the case of a missing 13-year-old girl and tells other stories of incidents that have occurred on a stretch of Oregon’s US Highway 20. From the 1970s to the 1990s, a number of girls and women disappeared or were victims of rape and murder along the highway. The unsolved crimes lead to fear among local community members, who began to question whether a serial killer was behind the crimes. Besides exploring the crimes and mysteries of an eerie highway, the documentary also analyzes society’s treatment of women.
“Everyone at Orit Entertainment is committed to shedding light on the most fascinating cases and crime stories with a unique perspective. We are thrilled to launch our collaboration with Highway 20, an incredible series of cases that took place over decades, only recently connected into a larger story – and this is just the beginning,” Spencer said.
Highway 20 is inspired by the award-winning work of journalist Noelle Crombie, videographer Dave Killen and photojournalist Beth Nakamura of The Oregonian. The docuseries is directed by Arianna Lapenne. Spencer executive produces alongside Orit Entertainment’s Clisham and Kluft, October Films’ Gillian Pachter and Matt Robins, Advance Originals’ Marsha Oglesby, Circle of Confusion’s Susan Solomon and ID’s Lorna Thomas.
Highway 20 will feature three one-hour episodes.