From Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) comes a blistering, modern-day thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption. “Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar winner Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Shondaland.com gives us a peek at the Widows Q&A.
In a post-screening Q+A, the cast and director of “Widows” talked collaboration, representation, and what they learned on set.
Steve McQueen’s latest effort, “Widows,” dropped onto Must See Lists late last year with little more than the reveal of its cast. After all, who wouldn’t be intrigued by a political thriller, heist, melodrama (yes, it’s all of these things) starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Daniel Kaluuya. And from the deep intimacy of its opening shot, to the many sharp twists throughout, “Widows” delivers. It is, without exaggeration (or spoilers), everything one might expect from a McQueen movie that also happens to be co-written by the mystery-thriller expert, Gillian Flynn.
Meshing together low stakes local politics and high stakes action, “Widows” follows Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez), and Alice (Debicki), three women whose dead husbands leave behind a few million dollars worth of unfinished business in their wake. When the widows’ lives are threatened by a wannabe Chicago Alderman, Jamal Manning (Henry) and his brother Jatemme (Kaluuya, in easily one of the scariest performances of the year), they have to take matters into their own hands in order to survive.
We were lucky enough to attend a recent screening that concluded with a Q+A panel featuring, McQueen, Davis, Rodriguez, and Kaluuya. In the brief time they had with the audience, each artist shared what originally drew them to the project, some of the lessons they took away, and a few gems that will definitely make our second viewings (and third, and fourth — to be honest, this movie is coming for its things this awards season) that much more compelling.
Why this project, and why now?
“… It’s just a case of wanting to tell stories. It’s that simple … I wanted to put that fabric of our current political and socio-political, racial, environment into the sort of DNA of [‘Widows’]. It’s honest. It had to happen, because otherwise, it becomes just another heist story. We all know about what’s happening around us, and to sort of put that into a narrative is very important. [The difficulty in arranging] child care. Horrific sort of politicians. False prophets. It’s in our everyday.” – Steve McQueen
“I have always wanted to be in an action movie, ever since ‘Get Christy Love.’ I’ve always wanted to kick somebody’s ass, because I wanted to kick people’s ass in life. And there was something about channeling that power [while making ‘Widows’] that I did like. But I didn’t necessarily sign on to it because of the action part of it. I signed on to it because I felt that it was a complete story. And [my character Veronica] was a complete character. And actually the thing that really struck me was [that] the core of [‘Widows’] was a love story. This woman is in love with a man, [Liam Neeson], and that is usually what’s not associated with me either. I always want to be a complete person. I always feel like that’s the elusive thing when it comes to people of color, you know what I mean?” – Viola Davis
We are proud to announce that the recipient of the highly coveted John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing will be Steve McQueen. And we are further delighted to announce that the award will be presented by the amazing Viola Davis! #Britannias pic.twitter.com/0MLy9wfhBd
— BAFTA Los Angeles (@BAFTALA) August 16, 2018
Okay how cute is Octavia! She talks about being up against Viola for the Oscar during her interview with Jimmy Fallon.
People did this awesome article about how Viola & Denzel met and how they built a friendship.
Denzel Washington doesn’t remember exactly when he met Viola Davis — but she does. It was 21 years ago when Davis was starring in the 1996 Broadway production of August Wilson’s play Seven Guitars.
“He came [backstage] and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I met Denzel Washington!’” Davis recalls to PEOPLE alongside her Fences costar and fellow Oscar nominee. The two became better acquainted years later when Washington, 62, cast Davis, 51, in his 2002 directorial debut, Antwone Fisher.
“I remember you were at the Trump Towers [in New York City] holding the auditions,” Davis says to Washington.
“I tell you what, it was a short audition process after that,” Washington remembers. “I’m not just saying that because you’re sitting here. [I thought] ‘I know there’s other folks sitting out there, I guess we’ll have a look at them because I don’t want them to feel bad.’ “
Their work together on Antwone Fisher was the official start of a very happy working relationship, although the two didn’t cross paths again until they began work on the 2010 Broadway production of Fences. The play, about a troubled 1950s family, won three Tony awards including best revival of a play and best actor and best actress for Washington and Davis.
Both actors agree that one of the main reasons they agreed to do the film version of Fences was the opportunity to work together again, along with several of the other original actors from the play.
“You miss these actors,” says Davis. “Usually I hate being the only girl because I feel like I’m so shy and awkward, I don’t like being around a lot of male energy.”
“Look at her, as she pulls her coat closed,” laughs Washington, watching Davis. “That’s interesting.”
“I know but I just loved being around all of [them],” she adds. “They’re just great, great men. To me Denzel is familiar, he’s easy. It’s like I know him. It’s like, ‘That’s Denzel.’ I feel that it’s always been that way. He, his wife, his kids, and at the same time, I’m a fan. I don’t like telling him that but I’m a fan. But I think he always makes interesting choices, I think it’s always rooted in truth and humanity and I think he has a lot of courage, he’s not a wimp and I like that. I think it takes a lot of courage to be an artist and to really go for it with your ideas, he has all that.”
“And thank you, goodnight,” laughs Washington at the compliments. “And, scene!”
So how does Washington feel about Davis?
“I just like Viola,” he says. “Viola is a great actor, I love working with her and I love watching her. I love being a part of it. It’s interesting working with her because we’ve worked together twice, but in both those cases other than the play I directed her, but not really directed her. When we did Antwone Fisher, because we’re actors, I recognize one when I see one. I know how I am and I could see she wanted to be left alone [during filming], she was in the zone, so I knew what to do. Just leave her alone and just watch.”
I don’t want to just say a cliché answer, she’s good and I love her,” he adds. “She’s a sweet lady and she’s talented and here we are.”
Viola’s co-star and friend Denzel Washington speaks about Viola during his interview on the Graham Norton Show.
Viola’s co-stars Aja Naomi King, Alfred Enoch and Karla Souza did an interview this week with Access Hollywood and spoke about Viola’s Emmys win and the new season of How to Get Away with Murder.