Viola Davis will give it to you straight: she signed up for a TV series because she was ready to tackle the lead role.
The Oscar-nominated actress has plenty of acclaim and isn't hurting for film projects - you'll next see her in August's James Brown biopic "Get On Up" - but the scripts coming her way are for supporting, not starring, roles.
So while she liked the script for Shonda Rhimes' new fall series, "How To Get Away With Murder," she'd be lying if she said she wasn't also attracted to playing the lead role.
"I think the day of choosing TV over film and TV somehow diminishing your career as an actor or actress, I think, has changed," Davis told reporters at the TCA press tour. "I think people migrate towards material, especially after they reach a certain age, certain hue, certain sex. And I have to say, and I will be bold enough to say, that I have gotten so many wonderful film roles, but I've gotten even more film roles where I haven't been the show. It's like I've been invited to a really fabulous party, only to hold up the wall."
With Rhimes' "Murder," Davis plays a law professor whose students hang on to her every word - and when they become enmeshed in a murder plot, realize they may need them.
Frankly, Davis told the press, "I wanted to be the show. I wanted to have a character that kind of took me away from my comfort zone. ... I love the fact that she's messy and mysterious and you don't know who she is. ... I feel extremely fortunate that I am alive and still active and this role came to me at this point in my life."
According to ABC's just-posted fall schedule, Davis' "How To Get Away With Murder" premieres at 10 p.m. ET on September 25.
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