When it comes to roles for black women in Hollywood, Viola Davis says that there just aren’t that many quality parts for her and her acting sisters to sink into.
“I don’t see anyone on TV like me in a role like this … a woman of color, of a certain age and a certain hue,” the 49-year-old actress told The New York Times magazine about playing Annalise Keating on the upcoming new series “How to Get Away With Murder.” “And you can’t even mention Halle Berry or Kerry Washington [who have much lighter skin].”
Davis’ comments come as she gears up for the premiere of “How to Get Away With Murder.” In the show, the Oscar-nominated entertainer plays a lawyer and law professor whose students become involved with an actual murder investigation on their college campus. According to Davis, the role is something that’s long overdue for those looking to see a bit of themselves on the small screen.
“It’s what I’ve had my eye on for so long,” she said. “It’s time for people to see us, people of color, for what we really are: complicated.” Regarding her approach to the parts she takes, Davis maintains that, “Even when I get the fried-chicken special of the day, I have to dig into it like it’s filet mignon. “I always got the phone call that said: ‘I have a great project for you.’ … Then I get the script, and I have a role that lasts for a page or two,” she said.
“I have been given a lot of roles that are downtrodden, mammy-ish. A lot of lawyers or doctors who have names but absolutely no lives. You’re going to get your three or four scenes, you’re not going to be able to show what you can do. You’re going to get your little bitty paycheck, and then you’re going to be hungry for your next role, which is going to be absolutely the same. That’s the truth.”
Viola Davis’ “How to Get Away with Murder” premieres Sept. 25 at 10/9c on ABC.
(Photo Source: AP)