Viola Davis has had a hell of a year, all thanks to ABC's breakout hit How To Get Away With Murder. And just when things looked like they couldn't be more exciting, she signed up to play the infamous Amanda Waller in David Ayers' comic villain project Suicide Squad. While comic films have gained prominence over the years, drawing bigger and bigger actors into their services, to see Davis board a project of such a pedigree is still surprising. It turns out, she took the role for the same reason any of us would if given the chance, and we're not talking about the paycheck. As luck would have it, Davis is a dyed in the wool comic fan herself!
The Hollywood Reporter sat down with the Academy Award nominated actress for a discussion on the ins and outs of the first season of How To Get Away With Murder. After all of the spoilers, the theories, and the interesting insight into Shonda Rhimes' latest network hit, Davis was asked about how her role of Annalise Keating has helped her land roles she wouldn't normally be considered for, roles such as Amanda Waller herself. Below you'll see probably the best response a comic movie cast member could ever provide for why they're on board.
As a comic book and Wonder Woman fan, I love the whole DC Comics universe. I traded comic books as a kid so all of that appeals to me. When you dream about being an actor as a kid, that's what you dream about. That's like play acting: being the superhero, getting the gun; it plays into that fantasy.
It's not terribly surprising that someone of Viola Davis' stature would be recruited to play the role of the woman who runs the Suicide Squad on an agency level. After all, Angela Bassett played the role in the Green Lantern flick back in 2011, presumably under the assumption that any franchise that sprung out of that film's potential success would have had the fellow Academy Award nominee reprising her role at every turn. Now, with cast lists that boast actors like Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Ben Kingsley, Rene Russo, as well as drawn the attention of Al Pacino; the comic book film seems to have taken an extra air of legitimacy it didn't have a little under a decade ago.
But as Viola Davis said, the fandom is truly the reason to be a part of a comic project like Suicide Squad. While Amanda Waller probably isn't that big of a part of the film by and large, Davis' inner fan helped her make the decision to play the woman who is the thorn in the side of the DC superhero universe. Surely her experience on How To Get Away With Murder has prepared her for some of the things she'll have to do or say to keep the likes of Batman in line - much less his rogue's gallery of nemeses. It's not a decision everyone can say they've made, especially considering the shake ups in the Suicide Squad cast.
How To Get Away With Murder has just completed its first season, and Suicide Squad is targeting an August 5, 2016 release date.