Viola Davis is a two-time Oscar nominee known for her tour de force performances on the big screen, but it took a leading role on a network drama to get the attention of Hollywood — and the world. The How to Get Away With Murder star opens up to EW about the evolution of her career and the challenges of being a 40-something Black actress in a system gamed for the young and "classically beautiful."
COMMENTARY: WHAT NINE WORDS? VIOLA DAVIS MAKES HISTORY WITHOUT MAKING A SOUND
“There’s the reality of being an actor, especially after two Academy Award nominations, and there’s the fantasy,” Davis explains. “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."
She continues, "So when How to Get Away With Murder came along, I had my aha 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.”
In the issue, currently on newsstands, Davis also talks about "princess problems" like having the paparazzi follow you to Target, getting naked with Billy Brown and much more.
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(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)