Octavia Spencer is one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood. In fact, she won an Oscar for her role in The Help and will most likely get nominated for her part in Hidden Figures, in which she plays a NASA mathematician who helped launch the U.S. space program.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood ReporterSpencer explained how she gets into character. She explains, “It’s just difficult to shoot period movies when you’re a contemporary woman. History hasn’t been kind to black women, and at that time, we were just fighting to get our rights as citizens…. Playing in the ’60s, as a woman of modern times, is very difficult, at least for me. I always watch [civil rights documentary] Eyes on the Prize from beginning to end to understand the mental and physical moment in history.

Spencer also added that she makes sure to never break character and staying in the moment. “And so there won’t be any anachronisms, I don’t come out of the time period; I stay in it. I listen to music of the time and I only deal with family and friends that are on the film; I don’t go to the movies, and I don’t do anything that’s contemporary. I tend to isolate. I only come out of it when it’s time for me to wrap. It’s just a hard place to be, emotionally.”