Viola Davis Talks About Being "Less Classically Beautiful' and Criminal Law

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For 26 years Viola Davis has acted on stage and screen. However, debatably, her breakout role came in the 2008 Academy Award nominated film Doubt. Davis has played a multitude of characters, but her latest TV role might be her favorite one yet.

On How to Get Away with Murder, Davis plays Annalise Keating, a defense attorney and law professor. Annalise is a commanding presence on the series. She's tough, powerful, smart, and strong---with a few secrets or two.

On The View, Davis spoke about playing such a "complicated" character. Davis shared that it was easy for Shonda Rhimes to get her to play this role because it was a chance to use her "craft to transform, and surprise herself and the public." She felt that this character was a physical manifestation of herself put on the screen.

Davis also addressed the controversial New York Times article. The article called her "less classically beautiful" than some other famous African American actresses. Davis responded by saying that beautiful is subjective. Then she discussed how after the article was released, many African American women started using the hashtag, #LessClassicallyBeautiful to show the varying definitions of beauty. "At the end of the day, you define you," Davis' said about confidence and beauty.

 

In an Associated Press article, Davis also shared her insight about guilt and innocent. Taking on the character of Annalise taught Davis "just how fine the line is between guilt and innocence, and a lie and the truth, and good and bad." She further explained by saying, "I'm not just talking about the cases. I mean being a defense attorney."


Davis feels "alive as an artist," because of her role on How to Get Away with Murder.

How to Get Away with Murder premiered last Thursday to 14 million viewers, which made it the biggest series premiere of the week. How to Get Away with Murder airs 9:00pm CST on Thursdays.