Viola Davis Recalls Director Calling Her By His Maid’s Name, As She Speaks Out On Lack Of Opportunities In Hollywood For Black Actresses
Viola Davis is getting candid about her experience in the film industry.
According to reports, Viola Davis, 56, revealed a director she had known for a decade called her by his maid’s name. While speaking on a panel at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for a compelling “Women In Motion” Talk, Viola Davis addressed the limited opportunities in Hollywood due to her skin color. The Academy-Award-winning actress recalled the incident and shared:
“I had a director who did that to me. He said, ‘Louise!’ I knew him for 10 years and he called me Louise and I find out that it’s because his maid’s name is Louise. So that has not changed.”
Davis vocalized that although she played a leading role in the television series “How to Get Away With Murder,” the part did not initiate more opportunities for other dark skin actresses. Despite winning an Emmy for her performance in the six-season series, Davis said:
“I know that when I left ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ that I don’t see a lot of dark skin women in lead roles on TV and not even in streaming services.”
“And that ties into ideology and ethos and mentality, and that’s speaking in the abstract. Why aren’t you hiring a dark skin woman when she walks in the room and you say she blows you away? Create space and storytelling for her so when she thrives she’s not thriving despite of her circumstance but thriving because of her circumstance.”
Davis was also transparent about the biased casting that takes place in Hollywood, suggesting that you may or may not get hired for certain roles if you’re darker skinned. She said:
“If I wanted to play a mother whose family lives in a low income neighborhood and my son was a gang member who died in a drive by shooting, I could get that made. If I played a woman who was looking to recreate herself by flying to Nice and sleeping with five men at the age of 56 — looking like me, I’m going to have a hard time pushing that one, even as Viola Davis.”
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