It's not uncommon for actors to regret roles they've had in the past, but you rarely hear of actors regretting parts that got them Oscar nominations. However, it turns out that Viola Davis now looks back on her work on The Help with no small amount of regret. While she says the experience of making the movie was great, she thinks that ultimately, the movie wasn't focused on the right characters. According to Davis...
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 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.
If the movie is called The Help and the voices that are most prominent don't end up being the characters being referenced, then it's understandable that you might have a problem. Clearly, Viola Davis feels that was the case. It sounds, from what Davis tells the New York Times, like perhaps there was a difference between what Davis expected to see on screen and what she actually got. If she took the role because she expected to be able to give a stronger voice to her character, that then was not presented, it would explain why she feels this way now.
Of course, regardless of whose voice the film really focused on, The Help was a strong contender at the Oscars the year it was released. The film was nominated for Best Picture as well as three acting awards. Viola Davis did not win her Best Actress category, but her co-star Octavia Spencer did win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year.
Viola Davis may be staring down the barrel of another Oscar nominations as her upcoming movie Widows and her role in it, are getting a pretty strong early buzz. The film is directed by 12 Years a Slave's Steve McQueen. One certainly hopes that not only will the movie be good, but that Viola Davis will be able to look back on it and not regret being part of it. Widows hits theaters November 16.