Actress Viola Davis is admitting that she has some regrets about her role as maid Aibileen Clark in the 2011 drama The Help. While speaking about roles she regrets this week, The New York Times reports that the How to Get Away with Murder actress admitted that, despite being nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for the poignant role, she didn’t necessarily like that the movie didn’t tell enough of the maid’s stories.
“Have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list,” she told the outlet at the Toronto Film Festival this week, revealing that she felt the production should have touched more on how the maids, who served wealthy white families, really felt about their lives.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” Davis explained of why she has some regrets about the role in the production, which was set in Mississippi in 1963.
“I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom,” she then continued while speaking out on September 11.
“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.”
But while Viola told the site that she may have some regrets about the role, she added that she still looks back very fondly at the experience of playing Aibileen Clark and has no bad blood with the people she worked with.
Davis said that she had a pretty great time working with her fellow actors, who included Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard, adding that they’ll all be friends for life.
“The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she said of the close relationship she formed with her co-stars, who she referred to in the interview as being “extraordinary human beings.”
Viola then added that she “had a great experience” with them when they worked together on the set more than seven years ago.
Viola was also quick to praise the film’s director Tate Taylor despite her admission that she has a few regrets about the role, as she said that she “could not ask for a better collaborator” on the project.
The Help tells the story of a group of maids in 1960s Mississippi who are asked to speak out about their jobs and lives by Emma Stone’s character Skeeter, who planned to expose the real lives of the women of color who served often wealthy white families, including how they were treated by their employers and what it was like to raise their children.
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Viola Davis is tired of seeing the same “nice” roles for female actors in Hollywood. “They keep them pretty. They keep them likable. They cater to male fantasies. They cater to the male gaze." Her latest film, #Widows, doesn't do that. Visit our link in bio for more. (????: @williamshirakawa for Variety) Repost from @variety
The film received some mixed responses from critics upon its release.
Ida E. Jones, the national director of the Association of Black Women Historians, criticized The Help when it was released seven years ago by claiming in an open statement posted to abwh.org that the movie “distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers.”
Since appearing in The Help, in addition to her role in ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, Davis has enjoyed roles in big-time movies such as Suicide Squad and Fences. Davis’s next big project is starring in Steve McQueen’s much-anticipated forthcoming film, Widows.