Viola Davis has expressed some regrets about starring in The Help in 2011.
The actress received an Oscar nomination for her role as Aibileen Clark in the movie, while Octavia Spencer won the Best Supporting Actress accolade. Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney also starred.
Though the film received predominantly positive reviews, some criticised The Help for its focus on the white characters and their contribution in improving race relations, instead of the black maids. For this reason, Viola said the feature is “on that list” of roles she regrets.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she told The New York Times at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I know Aibileen. I know Minny (Octavia). 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.”
However, Viola, who went on to win an Oscar for Fences in 2017, acknowledged that, in spite of this, she still enjoyed the experience and forged close relationships with many of the people she worked with.
“The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she smiled. “I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than (director) Tate Taylor.”
The 53-year-old, who will next be seen in Steve McQueen’s Widows, also explained that acting as a role model for black women often adds pressure to her job.
“Being that role model and picking up that baton when you’re struggling in your own life has been difficult,” she lamented. ” But I choose to be the leader.”