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Viola Davis reveals why she regrets her award-winning role in 'The Help'

In a new Q&A, the star opened up about her problems with one of the roles she's best known for.
by Ree Hines / / Source: TODAY
Viola Davis
Courtesy Everett Collection

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Viola Davis has a long list on stage and screen credits to be proud of, but over the course of her nearly 30-year career, she also has some regrets.

And among them is one of the roles she's best known for — a fan-favorite that earned her a Screen Actors Guild award and both an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination.

In a reader Q&A with The New York Times, Davis confessed that she regrets her role in the 2011 film "The Help."

Viola Davis
Viola Davis attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

When asked if she ever "passed on a role and regretted it," the star explained that, "There have been one or two that I regretted for maybe a minute, and then I let it go."

But she added, "Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted?" To which she answered, "I have, and 'The Help' is on that list."

It's a complicated sort of regret for Davis, as she still celebrates much of the behind-the-scenes experience of the box office hit.

"The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life," she said. "I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than (director) Tate Taylor."

In fact, in a post to Instagram last month, the 53-year-old honored the movie's seven-year anniversary stating, "It changed our lives. What an experience. My takeaway? It was the deepest, most intimate, joyful time I spent in the company of women. We are powerful together. The audience received the overflow of the love that we had for each other."

But her regret has nothing to do with that love or her fellow stars, like Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain.

"I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard," she said in the Times of the characters in the movie, including her own character, Aibileen.

"I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie."

This isn't the first time that Davis, who went on to win a supporting actress Oscar for her role in 2016's "Fences," has opened up about how she really feels when it comes to "The Help."

Image: Viola Davis
Viola Davis accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for "Fences" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.Chris Pizzello / AP

Speaking at a 2017 BAFTA event, Davis not only explained what bothered her about the film from the start.

"I absolutely love the premise," she was quoted by The Telegraph. "I love the fact that (Emma Stone's character) said 'I am going to write a story from the maids' perspective of what it feels like to work with these white women.' Operative term meaning the maids' perspective. I don't feel like it was from our perspective, that's the problem I had with it. I had it from the very beginning."

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