When audiences first see Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis onscreen in Widows, the forthcoming heist thriller where she stars opposite her onscreen husband, Liam Neeson, she’s making out with him passionately in bed.
Her 4-C natural hair takes up most of the frame. It’s beautiful. It’s angelic. It’s nothing we’ve ever seen before in the theaters.
Twentieth Century Fox
But Davis, who’s often championed Black women being authentically who they are in Hollywood and beyond, admitted it even took her some convincing to go au naturel for Widows, out Friday.
In fact, it was Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen who convinced her to be her authentic self to portray Veronica, a widow who has to convince three other widows to complete a job their criminal husbands couldn’t finish in order to get out of a huge debt.
Widows, which also stars Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry, is set in modern-day Chicago amid high political and racial tensions.
Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
Davis told ESSENCE last month that before the film went into production, she hopped on the phone with McQueen to try and convince him that she’d wear a short weave and even a long wig for her scenes.
“Then he calls back two minutes later and says, ‘Why don’t you wear your natural hair?’ I said, ‘Well that can’t happen.’ He’s like, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s a beauty thing, Steve. You don’t understand America, Steve.'”
Davis recalled that McQueen “got mad” at her generalization.
McQueen eventually told Davis, “This is a [real] woman. I see her all the time in airports when I’m traveling with her tall, Irish, handsome husband. She just hasn’t been seen in the American cinema so it’s about time we introduced her.”
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