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Top 5 industry Tips from Viola Davis – BAFTA’s Life in Pictures Review

January 16, 2017 | by Remel London


Talk about highlight of my weekend!

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts a.k.a BAFTA held an incredible event on Sunday 15th January in honour of  actress Viola Davis to discuss her craft and career at BAFTA’s headquarters in London.  As soon as I saw the names Viola Davis and London in the same sentence I knew I had to be there!

Over the past year I have been engrossed by the hit ABC tv show ‘How to get away with murder’.  It is hands down THE BEST SHOW on television at the moment. I became a   addict to the point where I couldn’t wait for it to reach the UK screens and damn near almost caught a virus on my laptop trying to watch it on one of those annoying streaming sites ( I know your not supposed to but I couldn’t wait).

Viola has had an incredible career to date with starring roles in ‘Doubt’, ‘The Help’ and I can’t wait for it to hit our screens ‘Fences’ alongside Denzel Washington this February.

She has kick started her 2017 with a Golden Globe award for best supporting actress in a motion picture and  also received the First Hollywood Star to be laid for 2017!

This beautiful woman is 51 years old and showing some serious #BlackGirlMagic so I wanted to get a sprinkle of that in her presence and to be honest she was dropping pure gems at the honorary interview and Q&A.

Here’s some of my favourite questions, answers and quotes from the BAFTA team, audience and Viola Davis herself.

Q: You recently won a Golden Globe award, how does it feel when you win an award?

Viola: I always like the silence after the awards. The flowers come, the champagne comes and then nothing… you’ve got to go back to work! 

What I loved about this answer is this woman is about her business! No matter how many people boost your ego or how amazing people say you are you have always got to be working on the next project.

Viola was very honest about taking every opportunity that comes and admitted she isn’t always picky when taking roles as you never know when it will be your last! Like everyone Viola also has bills to pay lol

Q:  What advice would you give to someone trying to get a production on the big screen?

Viola: You’ve got to sell it. You’ve got to try and convince them that this will appeal to the masses.

As someone who has aspirations to run my own production company one day, It was great to hear that Viola and her husband have their own production company (JuVee Productions)  that focuses on representing diverse characters and stories.

It really touched me when Viola talked about how she felt when her father passed away. She realised she wanted to preserve his stories. Her father was born in 1936 in South Carolina at the height of Jim Crow law, and Viola believes that the stories of the average man like her father need to be preserved, in addition to the stories of people that have shifted the culture such as Martin Luther king, Malcolm X and more.

Viola Davis Quote: The truth is filtered in films to make you comfortable…. Art has got to reflect the changing times. 

When Viola spoke of her time working on the film ‘The Help’ she mentioned that although she loved the premise of the film she also had issues with it. I love her honesty! She explained that a lot of the focus on the “maids side of the story” during the 60s, did not seem accurate. In fact some of the the scenes which she felt were genuine and meaningful were cut from the film, such as a domestic violence scenario and racial slurs from the maids to their employers, which the production thought were too harsh for the audience to see.

This is really disappointing! When you think about it, we see a lot of slave movies hit the big screens each and every year, however a genuine depiction of the average black person’s life isn’t comfortable enough to watch.

rolls eyes

Viola Davis Quote: Growing up watching tv I could always separate the actors from the entertainers… I didn’t have anything against the entertainers, but when you see a physical manifestation of something you want to do, you realise you can do it too.

At this moment I was head over heels in love with Viola! She was speaking to me and I automatically thought of the moment I saw the manifestation of my career through the queen that is Oprah. Oprah is my presenting inspiration in the same way that Cicely Tyson is Viola’s acting inspiration.

Viola spoke beautifully of her admiration for Cicely Tyson and added when she discussed with the team the possibilty of Annalise Keating having a family life in ‘How to get away with murder’, the production team asked who should play her mother and without hesitation she said “It has to be Miss Tyson!” 
Now all I need is for someone to ask who will my next presenting job be with…. ERM OPRAH PLEASE!

Viola Davis Quote: I only agreed to do ‘How to get away with murder’ as long as I could take off my wig and make up. I didn’t want to be that woman that goes to bed wearing a full face of perfect make up. I want to play a real person… I think they got a little more than they bargained for (laughs).

This summed up the woman that is Viola Davis to me. She is 100% real and she gives her everything when representing black women of today. We are magnificent and we are more than the stereotypes of the dark ages!

I’m just going to leave this here!

Thank you to BAFTA and Audi for this brilliant event!