The Queen of Failed TV Programs
This article was published in 2015 and we are presenting it again today to go over the changes that have been a protagonist of in the last 20 years. She is not white, not blonde, not young and not thin. She gives interviews by herself, answers everything, exceeds the time and, when she speaks, she does not have the bored look of many others, those who seem to be in a mine. If there is an answer to Hollywood stereotypes, to the star system show, to aesthetic obsessions, this is Viola Davis. Fifty years old, with a long career behind her, a lot of theater, she got her first Oscar nomination in 2009, at 43 years old, for the movie Doubt (she did not win) and the second one in 2012 for the unforgettable role of Aibileen Clark, the maid of The Help (she did not win this time either). But she just got the Emmy Award 2015 as best actress and, on the stage, she thanked with a speech that made Kerry Washington cry live and that many have defined as “historic”.
The Role of Annalise Keating
While waiting for a movie with J.Lo – “a fantastic woman, still very Jenny from the Block” – and for a “very secret and beautiful” project, Viola does not know if there will be a sequel of the dark story of her lawyer. “But, you know, I am the queen of failed TV programs: series that never started, started and then closed after one episode. That there are two seasons of this seems already a real miracle”. And she adds: “It was so beautiful to build Annalise, to do it in my way. Which does not involve acting so that people can say: how good Viola Davis is, how realistic her character is, how edifying it is. It is not easy to find the soul of roles like this. For women even more than for men: you never expect male characters to also be nice”. What does she like and what does she not tolerate of Annalise? “I like everything about her: I like her strength, and also the fact that she is so wonderfully complicated and without filters. If I were her, Viola, I would go to the analyst and try to make some order in the mess she has inside. But I also like that she does not do it. The older I get, the more I know myself, the more I am willing to show what I am. But Annalise, no. And I like that”.
Viola Davis’ Speech
And she thanked – among others – Shonda Rhimes, the writer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, who knows how to build these non-only-for-white-women roles as a seamstress and who wanted her as the protagonist of the TV series How to Get Away with Murder (the second season just started in America, in February it will be on Fox), where Viola is Annalise Keating, a rather manipulative, messed up, fragile and bad lawyer and criminal law professor.Let me tell you something: the only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply do not exist”.