Long outspoken about Hollywood’s siloing of Black artists, Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”) took racist pigeonholing to task in a new episode of Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series.
“Your imagination is absolutely the biggest tool you have as an actor,” the “Fences” star said durng a conversation with Tom Hanks (“Sully”). “And I’m sorry, that is the one tool that gets tossed out the window when it comes to people of color. You see them on screen, even in fabulous roles, and they’re still within the confines of being strong, a device, funny—that’s another one, funny. If it is a biopic—”
“Earthy, or overtly earthy,” added Hanks.
“—and if it is a Black movie, at best, it’s a biopic because it makes the audience feel comfortable that I’m investing in this Black person’s humanity, who I already know has made a mark in the world,” continued Davis.
Davis and Hanks’ conversation is one of several “Actors on Actors” episodes published online yesterday (November 29). In another, Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”) discuss the former’s upcoming role as aerospace pioneer Katherine Johnson in “Hidden Figures.”
Watch Davis and Hanks’ segment on film inclusion above, and check out their full episode here.