Movie Mom

Movie Mom


‘The Help’ — Viola Davis

posted by Nell Minow

In my opinion, Viola Davis is the finest actress in movies today.  In “Doubt,” she gave the best performance of the year in one short but very powerful scene as the mother of a boy who may have been abused.  She has made an indelible impression in brief appearances in movies as sympathetic therapists in “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Trust,” best friends in “Eat Pray Love” and “Nights in Rodanthe,” as a mayor in “Law Abiding Citizen” and as a space ship captain in “Solaris.”  It was truly a thrill to speak to her about playing the strong, quiet, principled maid Aibileen in “The Help.”

Like the other people working on the movie, she was very aware of the about the influence of the setting.  “It’s easier to do this because you’re in Mississippi.  It’s a different world.  A different energy that informs everything you do.  Going into Baptist Town [the primarily black neighborhood] you feel the spirits of the past.”

We asked about developing a Mississippi accent.  “The accent is a work in progress.  I was born in South Carolina and raised in Rhode Island. It’s my mother’s voice I hear in my head.  I don’t want the accent to be as strong as it is in the book.  I’ve read the criticism about the dialect online.  I don’t want anything to distract from the character.  I want to make it accessible.”  Her research about the era included books, the Eyes on The Prize PBS series, “a documentary about maids, my mother, relatives, everybody.”  She also remembered a teacher in college who was part of Freedom summer and came back to campus to talk about it.

Asked about the challenges of the story, she frankly acknowledged, “There’s a lot of pressure.  There are two stories going on.  It’s the experience of a lot of Caucasians with substitute mothers and the story of these maids, my mother’s story, who these women were when they went home.  That’s the part that makes it a dirty secret, not palatable.  That’s the story of those who worked for other people.  Abeline was born in 1911.  By [the setting of the movie] she has has 53 years of incredible history.  You feel an incredible responsibility not to make it sanitized.  That’s what Hollywood always does.”

And she spoke of the challenges of playing a character who by nature and culture seldom says what she is thinking.  “Your internal dialog has got to be different from what you say….[that is what] makes it so rich.”  It was sometimes very difficult to do.  “You feel the rage, the frustration, the repression, the intense level of sadness, of going to your grave without ever realizing your dreams and hopes.  Now we can speak our minds more.  To be silent so much – it’s hard not to carry that rage when you leave the set.”

 

 



  • Pingback: ‘The Help’ — Viola Davis | Christian Media Cross

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Allister Smith

    Its truly inspiration to the peoples who divide the humans into different categories on basis of their religion, castes and many more aspects..

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment beckysmith

    mostly we can speak our minds more. To be silent so much – it’s hard not to carry that rage when you leave the set.”

Previous Posts

New from Daniele Watts: Muted
Actress Daniele Watts stars as missing teenager Crystal Gladwell in Muted, winner of the 18th annual American Black Film Festival short film competition, showing on HBO throughout March 2015. Muted fol

posted 8:00:46am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: Uptown Funk from Alex Boye and the Dancing Grannies
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rjRlJvOxIY0?rel=0" frameborder="0"] "Uptown Funk," from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is covered in a sensational new video from longtime Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Alex Boyé and back-up performers ranging in age from 65-92.

posted 9:16:46am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Like Sunday, Like Rain with Debra Messing and Leighton Meester
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B28IHhaQXCE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:29am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters
In honor of this week's release of "Focus," here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that "con" comes from "confidence." A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in their schemes. And cons make great movies. If you haven't seen these, crank

posted 3:45:21pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Love & Mercy with Paul Dano and John Cusack as Brian Wilson
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VUhFpFQeilM?rel=0" frameborder="0"] "Love & Mercy" tells the story of Brian Wilson, the brilliant but troubled member of the Beach Boys.

posted 8:14:21am Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.