Viola Davis Admits She Has Some Regrets About 'The Help'

Viola Davis at TIFF 2018

Viola Davis wishes she hadn’t taken her critically acclaimed role in The Help.   

In an interview with The New York Times, the 53-year-old actress says that there are parts she regrets taking and “The Help is on that list.” The 2011 film follows the lives of a group of black maids in Mississippi in the 1960s. Davis portrayed a maid named Aibileen Clark, and the role earned her Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as well as two Screen Actors Guild awards.

“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny [Jackson]. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom,” Davis explains of her and co-star Octavia Spencer’s characters. “And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.” 

Despite her issues with the message of the movie, Davis insists that she has great memories from filming The Help with co-stars Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney and more.

“[My regrets are] not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great. The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she says. “I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings."

Viola Davis Emma Stone Octavia Spencer

Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer at the pre-screening party for 'The Help' in London on Oct. 5, 2011.

Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

“And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor,” she adds in praise of the film’s director and screenplay adaptation writer.

Back in May, Davis opened up about the barriers she faced as a woman of color trying to break through in Hollywood.

“I’m not pretty enough; I’m too fat; I’m not good enough; my hair -- that was a big one; my skin tone,” Davis said during an episode of America Inside Out With Katie Couric

Last year, Davis also told ET that she overcame those aforementioned struggles by “dream[ing] big.” 

“Dreaming is like going to the gym for me. It's what I did every day,” Davis said at the time. “Every day I tackled something. Every day, even when I had obstacles in front of me, even if it was something I could do that made me just a step closer to my dreams, I did it.”

Here’s more with the Oscar winner:


Viola Davis Recounts the Barriers She’s Faced in Hollywood (Exclusive Clip)

Viola Davis Speaks Out About Her Own Experiences With Sexual Harassment

Lupita Nyong'o and Viola Davis to Star as Mother-Daughter Warriors in 'The Woman King'

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