Viola Davis: I'm tired of playing a maid
February 6th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

Viola Davis: I'm tired of playing a maid

Viola Davis might have received an Oscar nod for playing a maid in “The Help,” but the actress told CNN she’s glad not to be wearing an apron in her latest movie.

Davis plays Amma in Richard LaGravenese’s “Beautiful Creatures,” a role that combines two characters in the books that inspired the film: a librarian and an elderly maid.

“I'm tired of that,” Davis told CNN of playing housekeeper roles. “We played – me and Octavia [Spencer], Aunjanue Ellis, Roslyn Ruff – we all played maids in ‘The Help’ and it was fabulous, it's a fabulous story because we were personalized and all of those things, but I think that people need to see an African-American in the 21st century integrated in the life of this town and family who's not in servitude.”

Davis also gushed about her green costars, Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich.

“They weren't thinking about 'everything is resting on my shoulders, how are people going to receive the movie?' That is not your job as an actor,” she said. “They were artists doing their job, in the moment, without vanity, with courage. And that's what I respected about them, I really did. There's no sense of stress in any of them. … It was wonderful to watch.”

“Beautiful Creatures,” which also stars Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Emmy Rossum will hit theaters on February 14.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Cyber Bullying Bimbo Comment

    i assume that includes hacking into computers correct? Your not that good at it..

    March 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Truestory

    White folks kill me with that "Get over it , You should be grateful crap"! I can appreciate her desire to be a woman of color who will sell her soul for a little bit of fame. I applaud her in her decision and I am not surprised by the comments that white folks make in regards to race as long as they can do it under anonymity. We know how yall become as long as you're wearing a hood.

    March 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John N Florida

    She just got exposed to how the Brits approach acting. It's much different over there.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Uh huh

    Another angry colored woman.

    February 15, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. i love this song

    Well east coast girls are hip
    I really dig those styles they wear
    And the southern girls with the way they talk
    They knock me out when Im down there

    The mid-west farmers daughters really make you feel alright
    And the northern girls with the way they kiss
    They keep their boyfriends warm at night

    I wish they all could be california
    I wish they all could be california
    I wish they all could be california girls

    The west coast has the sunshine
    And the girls all get so tanned
    I dig a french bikini on hawaii island
    Dolls by a palm tree in the sand

    I been all around this great big world
    And I seen all kinds of girls
    Yeah, but I couldnt wait to get back in the states
    Back to the cutest girls in the world

    I wish they all could be california
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    (girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
    I wish they all could be california
    (girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
    I wish they all could be california
    (girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
    I wish they all could be california
    (girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)

    February 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PornAnais

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    February 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. I saw her take a cookie...

    that makes me smarter then she is....

    February 10, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. real or fake

    fake or real...

    February 10, 2013 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. memory munch-telephone listen

    February 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Please

    everyone in my family got their degrees later in life....i know a teacher who is 50 years old and going for her masters...
    she waited until her children were old and went for it....stop making fun of people...the fact they are doing it is the important part.....

    February 8, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. phdivadom

    I am stunned by the comments made by all of these ignorant racists. How dare you question why a black woman would NOT want to play a maid in the 21st century? Do you know nothing about the history of your own country and the racial stereotypes that are part of that history? The only people who have a problem with her statement are uneducated racists who think that black women should only play maids and nothing else. They are angry that a black person would demanding better for herself.

    The great Lena Horne said these very same words more than 70 years ago, and she never played a maid in her entire career. Why should anybody be surprised, much less angry, that a 21st century black actress would say the same thing.

    As an African American woman, I am proud to know that Davis is demanding less stereotypical roles. She didn't say that she regretted her Oscar-nominated role. She said she wants to move onto other kinds of roles. Why do people have a problem with that?

    Anybody who is upset by the fact that Davis said this should return their high school diploma – no college grad would write anything so stupid – and start over again in 3rd grade.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • RdWtNBlu

      As soon as a predominantly black area doesn't have ridiculous statistics for crime, education, out-of-wedlock births, etc. you can start making some demands on how ya'll are protrayed, but until family values as a collective group catches up to social norms we're always going to have the same issue.

      February 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ellen

    I don't get it...why are you guys down on her statement that she "was tired of playing a maid"? I mean, how far is that from an actor/actress saying their tired of playing comedic roles??? Get over it...she is an actress who wants to show her range...she is a fine actress and trust me she will get the "calls"...and she will continue to land solid roles...
    I'm with you Ms. Davis...all the way!!! And any other actress/actor who wants NOT to be stereotyped...

    February 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. maria

    Why I get the dumb message it s a duplicate message? not is not you are obnoxious! that was not a duplicate message at all !

    February 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. see u later

    still a interest...seeing j.

    February 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gotta axe my mommy what they cost.


    February 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  16. maria

    Talking about "eat the hand who is feeding you" what a ungrateful woman getting rich ,famous and taking all the fame and money to the back and complaining? well.........many famous movie stars and rich now, starting like that! what she thinks she is? Elizabeth Taylor or Vanessa Redgrave or Meryl Streep? pleeeeease! ghetto ghetto" you can take the kid from the gehtto but you never ever can't take the ghetto from the kid" so true! In this world we need a little of HUMILITY! I hope not one ever calls her to act !

    February 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • phdivadom

      You should be ashamed of your racist ignorance. This woman has more education, talent, and money than you will EVER have, and yet you dare to call her names. You do not even understand the historical context to which she is referring. Go get a basic education and a working knowledge of American history before you make any more ridiculously offensive comments.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • DGTX3102

      To add to phdivadom very correct & supported response, please make sure you include a spelling class. It's hilarious, yet saddening, to see a (presumed) adult try and insult an accomplished actress with 3rd grade comments. Educate yourself!!

      February 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • shut the tv off...

      who gives and eff

      February 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  17. what do pool table's cost?

    does anyone know.

    February 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Ace

    She is laughing all the way to the bank.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Clete

    I've been an accountant for forty years....but what I really want to be is a lion tamer. I'm part of the way there...I went out and bought a hat that says "Lion Tamer". I await the offers to pour in.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  20. viola bitter?

    now must have blogged the wrong article

    February 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  21. 225 crash

    she is so bitter, jealous and unhappy

    February 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  22. A beautiful world.

    The racist card is play for different purposes. Obama didn't get to become president as a favor to black people. Oprah didn't get there because people wanted to be nice to her.Woopi Goldberg is respected not because she could be mean. Jordan is not admired because he is a good looking man. Some of the best sportspeople are black, many politician are black. Some of the best singers in the past and present are black. Those people have exceledl and they are recognized as good as anybody else. There are awards for blacks, for latinos, for whites and for whatever else. If you are good at what you do, you won't be overlooked in today's society.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • maria

      Amen well said! she is juts a UNGRATEFUL wannabe!hope Hollywood stop calling her really!and give the chance to someone who is grateful !

      February 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Still Here

    Good times and bum times, I've seen them all and, my dear,
    I'm still here!
    Gold statue sometimes,
    Sometimes a kick-in-the-rear, but I'm here
    Now one day you're hailed for blazing trails
    Next you're nailed for fingernails
    Either they cheer or they jeer, but I'm here
    I've heard them say song writing, acting, producing,
    What makes her think that she can? Or better yet song writing, acting, producing
    What does she think, she's a man?
    One day a Tony, Tuesday you're top of the Bill
    So I'm here!
    Wednesday you're phony, Thursday you're over the hill
    But I'm here!
    Now I've kept my clothes and kept me space
    I've kept my nose to spite my face
    Still once you say you won't
    Keep your place loud and clear
    Once you announce you're directing all you hear is...
    Everybody says don't, everybody says don't
    Everybody says don't, it isn't right!
    Don't, it isn't nice!
    Everybody says don't, everybody says...
    Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter,
    Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter,
    Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade.
    Don't tell me not to fly, I've simply got to, If someone takes a spill,
    it's me and not you,
    Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade
    I'll march my band out, I'll beat my drum,
    And if I'm fanned out, your turn at bat, sir,
    At least I didn't fake it, hat, sir,
    I guess I didn't make it
    Get ready for me love, 'cause I'm a-comin'
    I simply gotta march, my heart's a-drummin'
    Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade,
    I'm gonna live and live NOW!
    Get what I want, I know how!
    One roll for the whole shebang!
    One throw that bell will go clang,
    Eye on the target and wham,
    One shot, one gun shot and bam!
    Hey, look at me world, here I am...
    I'll march my band out, I'll beat my drum,
    And if I'm fanned out, your turn at bat, sir,
    At least I didn't fake it, hat, sir,
    I guess I didn't make it
    Get ready for me life, 'cause I'm a-comin'
    I simply gotta march, my heart's a-drummin'
    Nobody, no, nobody, is gonna rain on my parade!

    February 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  24. that's what you get for all the abuse.

    low life ho...

    February 7, 2013 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  25. Diana

    STHU Viola, you sold out when you played that damned maid and then went on to defend it while people like myself tried to tell you this is the only role in Hellywood will allow Blacks to have. Sambo L Jackson and the rest of you Black idiot Hellywood actors came down hard on a Black actress for supported Rommney all the while playing a step and fetch it slave in a Q Terento movie laced with the N word that is up for a Oscar.

    February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      I like when Jamie Fox went and found the former overseer and wiped the sh it out of him with his wip than shot him in the face. There's a lot of racist's that deserve that.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  26. silly

    i had a sandwich and i have a banana for later–i hope you have a great day today.

    February 7, 2013 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  27. Rock

    Display those licorice sweater rockets in her picture you knuckleheads.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  28. bagladyboutique

    Reblogged this on Bag Lady Boutique and commented:
    It amazes me to see that a certain group of people win Oscars for the worst roles.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Itsamemario

    Wow a story with a black person in it and most of the comments are racist? My god, color me suprised. Next we have a story about kim kardashian featuring comments about an alleged p* orn tape. More on this breaking story as it developes..

    February 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  30. V¡xen


    February 6, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  31. TJ

    Viola, I think you and Octavia are beautiful and superb actresses; but, unfortunately you're not the leading lady type in Hollywood. It's still a very much "whites only" hollywood. It seems nothing has changed for black women since Hattie McDaniel began playing maids starting back in the 1930s. Ouch!

    February 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  32. BLAKS AND LATINAS unfortunatelly in Hollywood are invisible..

    All the great roles they give to white women and white men. Racism still alive in Hollywood.

    February 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • maria

      Ion't think so! what about eva MendezJennifer Lopez,this new crazy Colombian from Modern Family,she is beautiful,Halley Berry,Vanessa Williams,Shakira,Alicia Keys , Beyonce,what about the thugs in Tv now J-Z and 50 Cent Ice Cube now Mike Tyson nad many others .... what are you talking about ....Hollywood s black and Jews is all .

      February 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Laurence Charles Ringo

    Wow,tracie!You should try out for a role as a Klu Kluxer;obviously you do hate very,very well.Better yet,you could write an award-winning screenplay perhaps.What a sad,pathetic,twisted little life you must live.Tell us tracie,how big in your own tiny little soul did you feel after you posted that? May God have mercy on your children!!

    February 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • well, woman, you look like one..what do u expect..

      unfortunatelly, you were not born atractive and just take the roles they give to you as a favor.

      February 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mmmKKK

      Here's the thing though ms Tracy: you CAN say whatever you want about black people (misguided and repugnant as it may be) but you can't expect people NOT to say anything back to you. So here goes: you're a racist. And a coward. I dare you to walk up to the next black person you see and say that garbage you wrote to his or her face. In the unlikely event that you aren't choked out or stomped to death, I think you'll find that you'll get an actual FACTUAL account of all sorts of things at which black people are successful, including schooling your ignorant butt. The end.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB Stoner

      They also make excellent garbage collectors, shoeshine boys, waiters, drug dealers, and robbery suspects.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Bah

    Not to mention, if you work in a public service position (Even as a librarian), you're in as much servitude as a maid is.

    February 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denise

      Bah: A black librarian does not equate to a black maid. Please. Maybe they are both "service" positions, but there is a distinction – a level of education that exists for the librarian and is far less likely to exist with the black maid role.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  35. i have a friend who was an accountant

    lost his job...managing home depot right now....a paycheck is a paycheck....who cares.

    February 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Tim99

    When I grow up o want to be a forest ranger.

    February 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Don't Mock A Maid

    my family member pays almost 100 bucks for hers...if the maid cleans 5 homes...that's a good paycheck!!!!!!

    February 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • what i mean is.....

      5 homes in 2 days....let's not forget the rest of the week...we're talking a grand a week!!!

      February 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      I really clean offices for a company. Office cubicles and vacuuming. It's ok.

      February 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Emily

    I am a maid or cleaning lady. It's ok. Nothing wrong with it. It pays the bills and buys treats for my cats.

    February 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Wish I was an actress playing the part of a maid though. I bet she makes a little bit more money than I do. 🙂

      February 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |

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