Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway Preps Feature on Alexandre Dumas British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway Preps Feature on Alexandre Dumas Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Viola Davis Creates Production Company w/ Period Piece On Black Homesteaders + New HBO Deal Project

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 4, 2011 at 7:22AM

Just read a new Times magazine profile of Viola Davis in anticipation of the release of The Help, which she stars in. But don't worry, while the article laments Ms Davis' *unfair* status in the industry, having to play supporting BBF or downtrodden roles more often than not (she took the minister role in Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail partly because she'd gone 7 months without getting any other work at the time), I'm not going to talk about The Help (again).
8

Just read a new Times magazine profile of Viola Davis in anticipation of the release of The Help, which she stars in. But don't worry, while the article laments Ms Davis' *unfair* status in the industry, having to play supporting BBF or downtrodden roles more often than not (she took the minister role in Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail partly because she'd gone 7 months without getting any other work at the time), I'm not going to talk about The Help (again).

Instead, what I'm usually most interested in when I read these profiles is whether there are any revelations of what new projects the person being profiled is working on - in this case, Viola Davis.

So, I'll draw your attention to this paragraph from the latter half of the piece:

Davis and Tennon have started a production company to try to expand the options for black actors, focusing first on a period piece about African-American homesteaders. She also has an HBO development deal for a program about a headmaster at a San Francisco private school. "This character does bad things for all the right reasons," says producer Margaret Nagle. "When I told Viola that, she was like, 'I'm there.' Another actor would say, 'It's really important to me that she be likable.'"

By the way, Tennon is Julius Tennon, her husband.

So, what do we have here? Well, glad to see that she's decided to go into producing work for herself and other black actors, starting with this period piece about African American homesteaders (as an aside, whenever I hear "African American" and "homesteader" in the same sentence, I almost always immediately think of Oscar Micheaux); and this development deal she has with HBO I knew absolutely nothing about... unless I'm just forgetting; but the project about the headmaster "who does bad things for all the right reasons" definitely has my curiosity. The fact that the character she'll play isn't "likable" as the producer of the project suggests, speaks to a previous post from Sergio about Viola excelling in a role as a greedy killer in an episode of Law & Order: CI. And as I hinted at in a previous post, after seeing The Help, I'm ready for her to play some bad-ass, unhinged, edgy character, instead of being caged up in these roles that I think limit what she's really capable of being, which, as the Times magazine profile notes, a leading lady.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about these ideas and projects. I hope to be able to interview her before The Help opens, and if I get my shot, you can bet that I'll be asking her to elaborate.

I know I said I wouldn't talk about The Help, but one interesting factoid from the profile that I shook my head at was this part:

Yet Davis is a leading actress stuck in supporting roles: onscreen, she keeps playing intense, downtrodden, decidedly unsexy characters. She gained weight for both Doubt and The Help and didn't spend much time in makeup. In real life, she works out six days a week in her garage with her college-linebacker-turned-actor husband Julius Tennon. "I wondered how they were going to make her look plump and matronly, because her body is rock hard," says Stockett...

Well damnit, can she be allowed to actually show off that rock-hard body on screen for once? I'm not saying she has to be naked, but enough with the "downtrodden, decidedly unsexy characters."

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


Shadow & ActNewsletter