How Viola Davis Injured Herself Filming A Sex Scene For How To Get Away With Murder

Injuries due to stunts on sets of film and television aren’t unheard of, and actors have had to deal with playing through pain to get the good shots. Technically, sex scenes can be considered a type of stunt depending on how enthusiastic the participants are willing to get. Actress Viola Davis suffered an injury due to a sex scene with co-star Billy Brown on How To Get Away With Murder in a way that speaks to her commitment as an actor…and is actually pretty hilarious. She certainly has a sense of humor about the story.

Well, we really went for it. I said, ‘Listen, I’m always playing these maids, I always gotta gain 40 pounds for a role.’ I said, ‘I wanna be sexy. I’m pulling out all the stops.’ So, I went for it…and threw my back out.

Sex scenes may be fun to watch, but it’s never been a secret that they’re decidedly un-sexy to shoot. Viola Davis’ story on Jimmy Kimmel Live of how she threw out her back for her How To Get Away With Murder sex scene is pretty definitive proof that they can be dangerous, as well as awkward, for everybody involved. Luckily, she seems to have recovered just fine.

Of course, judging by the nature of the sex scene, an injury isn’t all that shocking. The director evidently told Billy Brown to slam Viola Davis up against a wall and really go for selling the scene. Davis may have come to slightly regret her decision when she felt the false wall shaking behind her, but the back pain had to come as a major surprise. Check out her interview with Jimmy Kimmel to hear her tell the story!

At least she got her wish to pull out all the stops in a way that she wouldn’t have in past roles. She may have gotten a nomination for an Academy Award for her role in The Help, but she wasn’t exactly being thrown up against any sexy walls as the maid Aibileen.

How To Get Away With Murder is about as far from The Help as a TV series can be. Annalise Keating is a charismatic and brilliant law professor who also works as a criminal defense attorney. Davis won an Emmy for her role as Annalise in 2015, and she clearly is continuing to give her all to the show.

Viola Davis has been busy outside of the small screen as well. She nabbed the role of Amanda Waller in the highly-anticipated upcoming Suicide Squad film, set to hit the big screen in August of 2016. In the meantime, you can catch more of Viola Davis as Annalise Keating on How To Get Away With Murder on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.