Viola Davis discusses her obsession with Wonder Woman, the time Steve McQueen came to her house and personally asked her to star in “Widows,” and how she lends authenticity to her roles, in an interview for this week’s Variety cover story.
“She could transform into this superhero and just get a job done,” Davis said of Wonder Woman. “It wasn’t about her trading in her femininity or her intelligence. She wasn’t vindictive toward other women. She was just her.”
Davis channeled the superhero for her portrayal of Veronica Rawlins in the new McQueen film “Widows,” a crime drama that hits theaters on Nov. 16.
When McQueen came to her house and asked her to play the part, she didn’t think twice. “He has the language to bring you to that perfect performance,” she said of the filmmaker.
Davis drew on real-life experiences to play Rawlins, a widow left in serious debt from her husband’s criminal activities.
“I always associate it with someone or something that I’ve known or been exposed to in the past,” she said. Explaining how she uses the power of observation to give an authentic performance, she described channeling the memory of a friend’s expression after she had lost a child. “I think of what her eyes looked like,” she said. “I think about her.”