The hit ABC series “How to Get Away With Murder” has racked up multiple awards.
Star of the show Viola Davis, has been lauded as one of the most celebrated actors of our time. But in a recent interview, Davis shared that when she was cast, several Black actors didn’t think she was attractive enough to play the role.
Speaking to the New York Times magazine about her new book, “Finding Me: A Memoir,” which is due for release on April 26, 2022, Davis says she overheard several actors and actresses — all of whom were Black — say that “she wasn’t pretty enough to pull it off.”
One reason may be Davis’s willingness to take on some of the less glamorous roles.
“It’s more important for me to see the mess and the imperfection along with the beauty and all of that, for me to feel validated,” she said. “If it’s not there, then I feel, once again, the same way I felt when I was keeping secrets as a kid. But the only reason to keep secrets is because of shame. I don’t want to do that anymore.”
In “Finding me,” Davis recalled being incessantly bullied by boys who would throw rocks at her for being Black. She also details the abuse her family faced at the hands of her alcoholic father.
“Everything I’ve experienced is what connects me to the world. It’s given me an extraordinary sense of compassion,” Davis said. “It’s reconciling that young girl in me and healing from the past — and finding a home. You know when you look at pictures down memory lane, and you see it differently? I’m looking at little Viola, and I see how strong she was and how she was just a spitfire.”
She added: “I think that’s why I wrote the book. That if I somehow explored it, unpacked those memories, resolving them, that somehow I could find my peace.”
On Sunday, April 17, Davis’ most recent offering, “The First Lady,” drops on Showtime.
The series, which stars Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, delves deep into the Ladies’ personal and political lives.