(Photo: Entertainment Weekly, February 2015)
Viola Davis is covering the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly and in it, the How to Get Away With Murder star is talking about her career, the struggles of staying relevant as a Black actress, and her “princess moment” after the paparazzi caught her in a less-than-fashionable moment while out and about.
“I literally rolled out of bed and rolled into a Target with [my daughter,] Genesis, and the paparazzi caught me. I wore a wool hat and my Jimmy Kimmel sweat jacket. I was just not looking great. But it’s not a big idea. Those are princess problems. In the grand scheme of life, that’s very minuscule to complain about.”
Indeed, that moment is minor compared to the hurdles she’s had to jump through in order to get to where she is today. Despite being lauded for her work and receiving two Oscar nominations for 2008’s Doubt and 2011 The Help, there was still hesitance from studio producers to cast her as a lead in their projects — until she landed the role of Annalise Keating in Shonda Rhimes’s hit ABC series How to Get Away With Murder.
“There’s the reality of being an actor, especially after two Academy Award nominations, and there’s the fantasy,” Davis said. “People oversimplify it by saying, start a production company, get your own stuff going on … as if it’s that easy. I’ve had a production company for years. We have great projects coming up, but it’s been a battle, OK? At the same time, you have to stay relevant because you have to be bankable to the foreign market. So when How to Get Away With Murder came along, I had my ah-ha moment. I knew it would have a great time slot, and I would be a lead in a TV show. I’d get to play a role that’s sexualized, messy, all those of things I never get to play. And at the same time, I can be relevant.”
To read her entire interview, grab a copy of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now.
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