Viola Davis says she regrets acting in “The Help”

September 20, 2018

Viola Davis

Viola Davis might have gotten an Oscar nomination for 2012’s The Help, but she says she regrets her role in the film. During a new interview with the New York Times, she admitted that she believes the film did not do justice to the stories of its black characters.

“Have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list,” Viola Davis told the New York Times on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 during an interview for her forthcoming movie Widows. She said that as a role model for women of color, she feels extra pressure to guide others.

“Being that role model and picking up that baton when you’re struggling in your own life has been difficult,” she said. She discussed the criticism that The Help glorified white women for easing racial tensions instead of focusing praise on the black characters, like Davis’ character, Aibileen, who is a maid.

Davis agreed that the maid characters in the film should have received more recognition.

“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she said. “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.”

She did add, however, that she enjoyed working with her colleagues from the film.

“The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she said. “I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than [director] Tate Taylor.”

In 2016, Davis told Lee Cowan on CBS Sunday Morning that it’s been a difficult road finding the right roles.

“I have a deep voice. I probably have the ‘character look’; I am a woman of a certain hue. Those roles, those kind of diverse roles weren’t being written for anyone who looked like me,” she said.

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