The "Won't Back Down" Interview
with Kam Williams
Voila! It's Viola!
Viola Davis was born on August 11, 1965 on her grandmother's farm in St. Matthews, South Carolina, but raised by her parents in Central Falls, Rhode Island. After earning a degree in theater from Rhode Island College in 1988, she went on to do post-graduate work at the prestigious Juilliard School prior to embarking on a critically-acclaimed professional career.
Ms. Davis made a memorable mark on Broadway, winning Tonys for stellar performances as Tonya in King Hedley II and as Rose in the revival of Fences. She's also been nominated twice for an Academy Award, for her powerful portrayal of stoic Aibileen in The Help and for her equally-sterling interpretation of Mrs. Miller in Doubt.
Viola's other noteworthy screen credits include impressive outings in Traffic, Nights in Rodanthe, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Eat Pray Love, Madea Goes to Jail, Antwone Fisher, World Trade Center, Trust, Knight & Day, Get Rich or Die Tryin' and State of Play. And her upcoming films include Enders Game with Harrison Ford, Beautiful Creatures with Emma Thompson and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with Jessica Chastain.
Here, she talks about her new film, Won't Back Down, a female empowerment saga, where she plays Nona Alberts, a jaded teacher who joins forces with a frustrated single-mom (Maggie Gyllenhaal) to turn around an underperforming public school.
Kam Williams: Hi Viola, thanks for the interview.
Viola Davis: Thank you, Kam.
KW: Music teacher Steve Kramer asks: What interested you in Won't Back Down?
VD: My interests in the film were two-fold: the backdrop of education and also the human story within it about a woman who, when she was in her twenties, had all these high ideals and hopes of taking the world by storm as a great teacher and also as a great mother. But all of that was just blown to bits, and we find her at a low point where she's totally disillusioned. For me, the movie is about her story of coming back to life again. And that journey is a very human one. It intrigued me, and I saw it as a very interesting challenge as an actor.
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