Viola Davis Regrets Taking on Maid Role in ‘The Help’

Viola Davis is undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s most talented screen stars, but even she has her professional regrets.

In a new Q&A with The New York Times, the Oscar winner reveals that she has a list of roles she wishes she hadn’t taken, and her role as Aibileen, a maid in the 2011 drama The Help, is one of them.

“I have [taken on roles I’ve regretted] 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.”

While Davis was able to bond with co-stars Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone, the story lacked a thorough examination of how Black women in the service industry truly felt in the 1960s.


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“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.”

Davis now sees the value in passing on certain opportunities.

“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.”


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