Every actor has one role they’re embarrassed about taking. Sometimes, it’s a role that doesn’t truly showcase their acting abilities. It could also be a role that gained a slew of jeers from critics. For actress Viola Davis, she regretted working on The Help.
Change Begins With a Whisper
At the Toronto International Film Festival, Davis spoke to The New York Times about her acclaimed career. During the event, she was asked about roles she regretted turning down. Instead, she flipped the script and talked about roles regretted taking. Her work on The Help was her biggest regret. For her, it failed to really showcase how African-American maids really lived back then. “If you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie,” Davis told The New York Times.
Davis wasn’t the only person to have some choice words towards The Help. The film gained criticism for its false portrayal of African-Americans during segregation. Some of the blame was also placed on the 2009 novel of the same name written by Kathryn Stockett.
While Davis regretted the role, making the film delivered some grand memories. “The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life. I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor,” the actress also told The New York Times. Taylor is best known for their frequent collaborations with Allison Janney and Octavia Spencer. The Help was Taylor’s third time working with Spencer following 2003’s Chicken Party and 2008’s Pretty Ugly People. Davis would reunite with Taylor, Spencer, and Janney for 2014’s Get On Up.
Awards at Every Turn
Davis’ portrayal of Aibileen Clark landed her a slew of praise from critics and fans alike. At the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards, the actress landed her first awards at the ceremony. In the end, she walked away with Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture. Along with the cast, she won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture. At the Oscars, Davis earned her first Best Actress nomination for the role.
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Davis Making Moves
Since The Help, Davis has continued being a dominant force in the acting world. From 2014 to 2020, she’s been taking over TV screens as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder. Her time on the show earned her an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015.
In 2016, Davis earned her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress with the drama Fences. This film finds Davis reprising her role from the 2010 stage production. It also reunited her with Denzel Washington, who co-starred with her in the same production. Fences also earned Davis Best Supporting Actress wins at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. That same year, Davis jumped into the DC Extended Universe as Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad.
Davis has two forthcoming roles that will surely be some of her best work. The actress will portray Michelle Obama in the anthology series First Ladies. Releasing on Showtime, the show gives viewers a glance at the political world through the eyes of various First Ladies. Davis will also portray blues singer Ma Rainey in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. With nearly 25 years in the game, Davis won’t be calling it quits any time soon.
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