Viola Davis is a role model for so many people, and she holds herself to a high standard.
She is a three-time Oscar nominee -- for "Doubt" in 2008, "The Help" in 2011, and "Fences" in 2016. She won the Oscar for "Fences," and picked up multiple awards for her other TV/film projects, including several trophies for "The Help."
But Davis told the New York Times she regrets her role in "The Help," because we didn't get to hear enough from "the help" themselves -- the women like her character Aibileen Clark and Octavia Spencer's Oscar-winning role as Minny Jackson.
Davis brought up the movie herself as part of a fan Q&A; here's that section of her interview:
Have you ever passed on a role and regretted it? — Toti Plascencia, Chicago
I have passed on a lot of roles. There have been one or two that I regretted for maybe a minute, and then I let it go. As I’m growing older, I pass on roles because of my experience of knowing once the movie’s out, I’m going to have to promote it. And I don’t want to promote anything that I don’t believe in.
Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and “The Help' is on that list. But not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great. 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.
I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that 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.
Fair point. It was an ensemble movie, so a lot of focus was on the rest of the cast -- including Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, etc. They all shared the screen, rather than truly making the movie from the perspective of the maids, handing the microphone to women history usually leaves in the background.
But Davis emphasized that she had a great experience making the film and loved the cast as well as writer/director Tate Taylor, who adapted Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel.
Viola Davis will next be seen in "Widows," which opens November 16.
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In 1960s Mississippi, Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with dreams of being a writer. She turns her small town on its ear by choosing to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families. Only Aibileen (Viola Davis), the housekeeper of Skeeter's best friend, will talk at first. But as the pair continue the collaboration, more women decide to come forward, and as it turns out, they have quite a lot to say. Read More