Hollywood icon, Viola Davis began her career in the Broadway part of the film business, where she starred in minor roles before winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Tonya in August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” on Broadway in 2001.
Her breakthrough into Hollywood would later come via her onscreen feature as a troubled mother in the 2008 film “Doubt,” ultimately landing her first Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. Davis has since gone on to feature in everything from action movies to criminal dramas, comedies to romantic thrillers, all of which have proven to be testaments to her acting talent.
However, there have been a few stumbling blocks for the actress, including facing rejections from several directors and producers based on her race. Davis has now spoken out about those instances and how she continues to find them offensive.
Viola Davis On Colorism – ‘It Pisses Me Of’
Davis recently spoke up against the ongoing issue of colorism in the film business in an interview with Variety. Using herself as an example, the actress highlighted occasions when she had worked hard to prepare for an audition but was turned down due to her race.
Even though she overcame those obstacles eventually, Davis’ revealed that she is still profoundly dissatisfied and upset that such things are still happening.
“We could talk about colorism, we could talk about race,” she said in the interview. “It pisses me off, and it has broken my heart.”
While some roles might require a person of a different race to depict the character, Davis’s assessment during those times made her realize that the decision to turn her down was not based on her acting talents.
It “really gets on my damn nerves,” she added, reminiscing on how she felt in those terrible moments. “A lot of it is based on race. It really is.”
Beyond her color, Davis also highlighted that not sharing the same features with what most showrunners term as the ideal Hollywood actress might have played a role in influencing those biased decisions.
“Let’s be honest. If I had the same features and I were five shades lighter, it would just be a little bit different. And if I had blonde hair, blue eyes, and even a wide nose, it would be even a little bit different than what it is now,” she told the news publication.
Davis then mused aloud about how some showrunners would rather choose someone else with less talent than a black lady who rocked the auditions. She acknowledges that many black women succeed despite their circumstances, but she is frustrated that the standards are different for them.
“Why aren’t you hiring a dark skin woman when she walks in the room, and you say she blows you away?” Davis asked of such showrunners.
‘Create Space And Storytelling’
Davis also spoke to Variety about how tough it is for Black women to secure prominent parts, noting that landing a job as a mother in a low-income area would be simpler than starring in a lighter comedy about a lady touring the world on a personal adventure.
She also remembered a moment when a director addressed her by his maid’s name rather than her name, implying how backward certain people in the film business were and how much work still had to get done to set things right.
The solution, according to Davis, is for the film and television business to “Create space and storytelling” for marginalized women so that they may succeed “because of their circumstance” and not “despite their circumstance.”
She believes that doing so will free a horde of talents that have been restrained by prejudiced judgments, adding that the film industry will benefit as a result.
Viola Davis Upcoming Film – ‘The Woman King’
Davis has launched her own production firm, JuVee Productions, which she co-founded with her husband, Julius Tennon. The company is currently partnering with TriStar Pictures, Welle Entertainment, Jack Blue Productions, and Entertainment One to produce an upcoming project dubbed the “The Woman King,”
The multiple award-winning actress is set to star in the action drama as Nanisca, the general of the Dahomey Amazon, a female military regiment of one of Africa’s most powerful tribes that existed in the nineteenth century.
Starring alongside Davis is South African actress Thuso Mbedu, who plays an ambitious recruit in the Kingdom of Dahomey. Together, the duo would go all out against their enemies who threatened to destroy their settlement, defile their honor, and capture them into slavery.
Production for the film started late last year after the casting was completed. As per its IMDB page, “The Woman King” will be released on September 16, 2022, by Sony Pictures Releasing.
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