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Guess What Viola Davis' Favorite Role Is? (A Hint: It's NOT From "The Help" Nor "Doubt")

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 19, 2012 at 2:32PM

Hah! Gotta love it! 
12
Viola-Evil

Hah! Gotta love it! 

One thing I think we champion here on S&A is black actors being fearless and taking some chances/risks in selecting the roles they play on screen (on stage, and elsewhere); ignoring the so-called "burden of representation" and running with a part that might be considered controversial, and that will likely face fierce criticism from masses within the *black community* who may look down on role as one that depicts a black person (or people) in a less than flattering, if downright negative light.

Recall Sergio's post a few months ago on Viola Davis' *serial killer* role in one 2002 episode of Law & Order: CI? In that post, Sergio praised Viola Davis for her willingness to step outside the expected and take the role, knowing how it might be received by some of us. 

Fast-forward to today, and I finally got around to watching the full hour-long Hollywood Reporter award season roundtable discussion with actresses of the moment (including Viola, Octavia Spencer, Charlize Theron, Michelle Williams, Glenn Close and Carey Mulligan); I got to around the 29:30 mark as Viola talked about her having to adapt to the character she plays in The Help, and the quietness/internal nature of that character, as opposed to... she then slips into discussion of one of the favorite roles she's ever played, and guess what it is?

The serial killer in that 2002 episode of Law & Order: CI! Fancy that! :)

Just watch the video as she relishes the memory of playing a character that was unlike anything she'd ever been offered before; and then watch her expression dampen seconds later, when asked why it wasn't well-received... I could feel her *burden* in that short moment. It was written all over her face, as they say.

As I've said about Viola more than once, for all her ability, Viola Davis isn’t meant to play subdued, subservient, "quiet" roles. Besides, she's done enough of that already. Her presence demands she be out, front and center, bold, brash, dangerous and leading; not meek and cowering. And I hope she's now in a better position to really attract some really bold, imaginative work.

Watch the hour-long video below, or skip to around the 29:30 mark for the piece I referenced here:

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm...


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