Viola Davis is not the help.
The Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner has revealed that an unnamed filmmaker – a friend of almost a decade – made a mistake and called her by his maid’s name.
“He called me Louise — and I found out that was because his maid’s name was Louise,” Davis, 56, dropped the bombastic claim during Thursday’s Women in Motion event at the Cannes Film Festival.
The diss went down when the now-adored “The First Lady” star was just starting out in the movie business. Davis added that this was not an isolated incident – but the kind of disturbing incident that happens repeatedly.
“I’ve known him for 10 years,” Davis said in a scarlet suit. “I was maybe 30 at the time, so it’s been a while — but you have to realize that these microaggressions are happening all the time.”
The star, who received an Oscar nomination in 2011 for playing a maid on The Help, a role Davis regrets taking, also discussed how race usually plays a role in the projects that don’t offer her will. “A lot of it is race based. It really is,” she said.
“Let’s be honest, if I had the same facial features and was five shades lighter, it would be just a little bit different,” Davis told the trade publication. “And if I had blonde hair, blue eyes and even a wide nose, it would be even a little different than what it is now.”
The How To Get Away With Murder alumna continued, “We could talk about colorism. We could talk about races. It pisses me off and it broke my heart on a number of projects that I won’t name.”
However, the South Carolina native has been asked if her Emmy-winning role as attorney Annalize Keating in the Shonda Rhimes-produced drama has opened doors for actresses of color.
“Yeah,” she said, then paused and added, “I hope so.”
She continued, “I know that by the time I left ‘How To Get Away With Murder,’ I don’t see many black women in lead roles on TV or even on streaming services.”
“And that is related to the ideology, the ethos and the mentality, and that speaks abstractly. Why don’t you hire a black woman if she walks into the room and you say she blows your mind?” She wondered. “Create space and stories for her so that when she thrives, she doesn’t thrive despite her circumstances, but thrives on her circumstances.”