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Viola Davis On Her Role In "The Help": "Of Course I Had Trepidations" + More...

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 9, 2011 at 2:19AM

"Of course I had trepidations. Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multifaceted and rich roles you've ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel like in some ways it's not a good message to send to Black people? No. The message is the quality of the work. That is the greater message... As Black women, we're always given these seemingly devastating experiences - experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point."
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"Of course I had trepidations. Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multifaceted and rich roles you've ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel like in some ways it's not a good message to send to Black people? No. The message is the quality of the work. That is the greater message... As Black women, we're always given these seemingly devastating experiences - experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point."

Words from Viola Davis in the August issue of Essence magazine, talking about her involvement in the sure-to-be polarizing film The Help. I think this might be the first time I've actually read anything from her about the film and the role she plays. I'm sure there'll be more quotes from her and the rest of the cast, as they begin their press travels for the film which opens in theaters a month from now. I'm hoping to see it early and chat with Viola myself.

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


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