Viola Davis: ‘I stifled who I was to be seen as pretty. I lost years’

Success hasn’t come easy for the Oscar-winning star.

She talks to Benjamin Lee about the limited roles black actors are offered, why The Help was a missed opportunity, and how she learned to take the lead – in life and on screenIn the opening scene of Widows, the new thriller from artist-turned-director Steve McQueen, Viola Davis lies in bed, passionately kissing her on-screen husband, Liam Neeson.

A kiss between a married couple might not seem remarkable, but for Davis it is a groundbreaking moment.“For me, this is something you’ll not see this year, last year, the year before that,” Davis says, sitting in her living room in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles.

“That is, a dark-skinned woman of colour, at 53 years old, kissing Liam Neeson.

Not just kissing a white man,” she adds, “Liam Neeson, a hunk.

And kissing him sexually, romantically.”

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