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Why 'Get On Up' Star Viola Davis Is Setting Film Aside for ABC's 'How To Get Away With Murder' (TRAILER)

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood August 8, 2014 at 12:24PM

If you can't get what you want at the movies, go to television. Viola Davis, Tony-winning Broadway star and Oscar-nominated supporting Hollywood player, now has her own ABC TV series thanks to Shonda Rhimes, who made Kerry Washington a star with "Scandal." This one will follow that one on Thursday nights.
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'How To Get Away With Murder'
'How To Get Away With Murder'

If you can't get what you want at the movies, go to television. Viola Davis, Tony-winning Broadway star and Oscar-nominated supporting Hollywood player, now has her own ABC TV series thanks to Shonda Rhimes, who made Kerry Washington a star with "Scandal." This one will follow that one on Thursday nights. 

Davis knocks it out of the park in James Brown biopic "Get On Up" as the funk founder's abused, but persevering mother. But film isn't fulfilling her. At last month's TV Critics Association panel in Los Angeles, Davis talked about the dearth of strong black female roles in Hollywood: "I will be bold enough to say that I have gotten so many wonderful film roles... But I've felt like I've been invited to a really fabulous party to only hold up the wall. I wanted to be the show."

Well now, she may have her shot, albeit on cable TV, at reclaiming an underserved niche. Check the trailer below for ABC fall series "How to Get Away with Murder," which looks like "Damages" meets "House," basically. Davis plays the tough-as-nails law professor and high-powered attorney, but is she on the right side of the law? How willing is she to do what it takes to win a case, and what legal ethics is she teaching her students? Rhimes can build on all that writing she did for hit TV series "Private Practice" (2007–2013).

Check the "How to Get Away with Murder" trailer below, which also features Alfred Enoch ("Harry Potter") and Matt McGorry ("Orange Is the New Black"). The series bows on ABC September 25.

This article is related to: Viola Davis, Television, Get On Up


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.