Kelvin Harrison Jr. was a little intimidated to star opposite Octavia Spencer. And who could blame him? Harrison and Spencer go head-to-head in a battle of wits in the new psychological thriller "Luce." But the Oscar-winning actress quickly helped calm Harrison's nerves on set. He talked about working with Spencer in a recent appearance on "Popcorn with Peter Travers."
"She was just full of good energy," Harrison said. "She gave so much good advice. And just seeing her work ethic and how nurturing she is as a person, it was really comforting to walk into a setting where you kind of know you have a lot to do and you're not sure if all of these brilliant actors are going to think you're good enough."
Tim Roth and Naomi Watts round out the all-star cast, playing a husband and wife who adopt a young boy from Eritrea named Luce (Harrison). He essentially has everything he wants. But suddenly their tranquil and happy lives take a drastic turn.
"He is the president of the debate team and the captain of the track team," Harrison said of his character. "And he writes this paper that kind of implies that violence is the answer to problems. And his teacher, Octavia Spencer, has a few problems with it. So we have to address those problems."
Harrison told Travers when he first saw the script, he'd just moved to Los Angeles from New Orleans.
"I got my studio apartment. I was auditioning. And I was like, 'Aww man, I'm an actor,'" Harrison, 25, told Travers. "And I get this script. And I was just shocked that this 17-year-old kid could be so well-spoken and have so many passionate and intense views."
He added, "I think Luce, he's challenging those old views on life and taking a more progressive take on it all. It was exciting and empowering for me as a young black kid to be able to feel that I could speak out. And I could protect my identity and say I could be whoever I want to be."
Watch the full interview with Peter Travers Kelvin Harrison Jr. in the video above.