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Viola Davis is one of the most revered actresses of out time, but the Oscar award-winning thespian says she is regretful of her role 2011 period drama, “The Help.”
“There’s no one who’s not entertained by The Help.,” she says, “But there’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to [tell the whole truth,]” Davis said as part of her cover interview for the July/August edition of Variety magazine.
“The Help” is set in 1960s Mississippi and tells the story of Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone), who returns from college with dreams of being a writer. Skeeter decides to interview Black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families.
Viola Davis’ character Aibileen, the housekeeper of Skeeter’s best friend, is the first to tell her stories before more women decided to come forward.
The movie received mixed reviews. While some considered the movie groundbreaking and poignant, others panned it as another whitewashing of Black history.
Her interview with Variety is not the first time that Davis has expressed her regret over accepting the role. In 2018, she sat down for an interview with the New York Times, where she said the following:
“Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and “The Help” is on that list. But 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. I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor,” she shared.
Davis feels the movie just did not hit the mark.
“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. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. 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.”