Despite being nominated for an Oscar for her role, Viola Davis wishes she hadn’t signed on for The Help. Davis was answering questions submitted by New York Times readers at the Toronto International Film Festival when she dropped the bombshell.
"Have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list," Davis said.
The Help has been criticized for giving too much credit to white women for improvements in race relations, instead of celebrating the role of black women, like Davis’ character Aibileen, who worked as a maid. Davis said that she wants to be a role model for other women of color: "Being that role model and picking up that baton when you’re struggling in your own life has been difficult," but "I choose to be the leader."
"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. 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."
Davis was also quick to add that the experience of the film itself was positive. "The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life," she said. "I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than director Tate Taylor."