5 Roles We'd Love to See Viola Davis Star in Next
She may have lost the Oscar this year, but...
Even though she didn't walk away with the golden statuette for her role in The Help, Viola Davis is on to bigger and better things. She's putting on her producer hat as a way to pave the way for better roles, better choices for black women.
"I am doing this out of necessity,” she said in a recent interview. “If I am not the instrument of change, I can meander through this business and be the black woman who always has 2 or 3 scenes, but with fabulous actors around me.”
Viola Davis has been in the industry 23 years, but never has the light shined so bright on her as it has for last year's The Help. She spent a good chunk of 2011 defending her choice to star in the movie, saying, "Of course I had trepidations."
She told ESSENCE magazine, "Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multi-faceted and rich roles you’ve ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel in some ways it’s not a good message to send to Black people?"
No matter how you feel about The Help, it's clear Ms. Davis has paid her dues. She has a hunger for pouring herself into roles and we can't say we've ever been disappointed when Viola is on the screen. Now that the hoopla of the Oscars has passed, let's take a look at what roles we'd like to see Viola take on next:
1. A Law Thriller
Viola is an excellent actress as it is, but have you seen her in roles where she gets to play a lawyer or district attorney? She throws down. From her stint as Donna Emmett on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or her starring role in CBS' short-lived Century City, she commits to the role so fiercely that you forget she's an actress. Something similar to Kyra Sedwick's role on TNT's The Closer would suit Ms. Davis just fine, we think.
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2. A Romantic Drama
Why don't black love stories get told outside of a Tyler Perry production? Of all the genres, this one is the most elusive for black actresses. Why not cast Viola Davis in a role similar to Meryl Streep's in the upcoming Great Hope Springs, about a long-married couple attending a marriage retreat to save their marriage? The only problem is that we rarely see love stories among the younger set, so getting Hollywood to greenlight a production about 40-something black love might be an even bigger reach. But if anyone out there's listening, we think Viola would be perfect.
3. A Girlfriend Comedy
Yes, there are talks about the Waiting to Exhale sequel, but has there been a hugely-popular girlfriend movie (similar to Bridesmaids) since then that got black women to the movies en masse? We'd love to see Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer team up again and give us two-and-a-half hours filled with laughter and sister love.
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4. Anything Where She Gets To Play The Villain
With a new superhero movie popping up in Hollywood every 5 seconds, it seems like an easy way for actresses to pad their resume, get a boost in salary and enjoy the spotlight for a while. But we all remember Halle Berry's 2004 Catwoman, don't we? Viola doesn't have to necessarily be in a superhero movie, but we'd love to see her play a role where we don't root for her character. What if she got to play a Bond villain or a mother-in-law from hell? She's got the acting range to make us hate her as much as we like her.
We hate to keep coming back to Meryl Streep, but you've got to admit she gets a ton of good roles. We'd love to see Viola in a spin on Meryl's 2006 The Devil Wears Prada, where she plays a former supermodel-turned-modeling coach or fashion editor. Her recent L.A. Times magazine spread -- in which her glam is on 10 -- shows that while she might not have premiered on the catwalk, she's got what it takes to pass for a fashionista on the big screen.
What role would you like to see Viola in? Share on Facebook & tell us in the Comments section below!
[ALSO READ: 5 Best Oscar Acceptance Speeches in Black History]
Octavia Spencer, Davis' co-star from The Help, won the award for Best Supporting Actress. Watch her acceptance speech below: