Viola Davis has appeared in a string award-winning films, but one role she regrets taking is as maid Aibileen Clark in The Help.
Davis, who stars in the upcoming crime drama Widows, made the comment to The New York Times at the Toronto Film Festival while answering reader-submitted questions.
A reader from Chicago asked: “Have you ever passed on a role and regretted it?”
The actress responded: “Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list.”
While Davis said she enjoyed some aspects of working on the film, she had problems with the way it portrayed the actual help.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she said. “I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom.”
She continued, “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.”
Still, Davis said she developed lifelong friendships on the film’s set.
“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,” she explained.
Davis also praised the film’s writer-director.
“And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor,” she said.
Taylor adapted The Help from a book by the same name. In addition to Davis, the movie starred Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney.
Spencer won an Oscar for her role as maid Minny Jackson. Davis and Chastain received nominations.
Five years later, Davis took home an Oscar for her role as long-suffering wife Rose Maxson opposite Denzel Washington in the 2016 film Fences.