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.
“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.”