This is a translated version of an article from Vogue Portugal. Viola was interviewed about her work in the film “Widows”.
The American actress is the protagonist of Widows , the latest film by Steve McQueen, which arrives in theaters in Portugal on November 15. Having this debut in sight, we wanted to talk to Viola Davis to get the conversation up to date.
There are few actresses with the talent and charisma of Viola Davis. For Steve McQueen, he is at the level of the great female stars of the 1940s: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Katherine Hepburn. Some may even disagree. After finishing his studies at the famous Julliard School, Davis began to build his name on the stage before venturing into the world of Cinema and Television. Steven Soderbergh was one of the first to notice in his talent, eventually choosing Viola for Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000) and Solaris (2002). Denzel Washington also surrendered to the American actress and worked with Davis in Antwone Fisher (2002) and Fences (2016).
His more mainstream mediatism came with his first Oscar nomination, with a small but overwhelming role in Doubt (2008), where he starred opposite Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It has achieved another milestone with The Help (2011), an emotional view of the vital, yet blatant, importance of the inequality and position of African-American maids in the southern US states at the height of the Civil Rights movement. It was with Fences that she finally won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress , an adaptation of Denzel Washington’s August Wilson play, which had previously performed and garnered a Tony Award. To complete the prize pool, Denzel’s feature film brought him a BAFTA and a Golden Globe , while the hit series How To Get Away With Murder earned him an Emmy , naming himself the first African- win a statuette for Best Actress in prime time.
Recently, Viola Davis is protagonist of Widows , the new film of Steve McQueen. In the feature film, she plays Veronica, the wife of the charismatic thief played by Liam Neeson, Harry. In this plot, she is left alone and needs to survive without her husband. In order to do so, he must carry out an assault he had already planned but left him behind and now needs to realize it with the help of the members of his widow gang. Elegant and reserved, Veronica is not the kind of woman who imagines herself to be performing an assault of this caliber, yet Viola Davis convinces her otherwise and shows that there is no other possible way to do so.
This is the type of paper that could result in more trophies to join the collection, but for Viola Davis herself, this work offers you two advantages. One of them the opportunity to work with McQueen, director of Hunger (2008), Shame (2011) and 12 Years A Slave (2013) – winner of an Oscar. The second was to have the power to break some boundaries and challenge some of Hollywood’s insights – something I discuss below.
Do you remember when you met Steve McQueen? Was it with this movie, or had it already been found?
I already knew him. I wanted to say it was about The Help … But it was definitely at the BAFTA party in Los Angeles. One of those conversations where he basically asked me, “Why do not you have better roles?” If they knew Steve, they knew he did not care what words he chose. Your forte is to move on, but I believe that was the theme of the conversation during the party.