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In a new Q&A with the New York Times, the award-winning actress revealed she has regrets about taking on the role as Aibileen Clark in the 2011 film The Help. “Have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list,” she said.
The movie is based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name. Starring Emma Stone, The Help follows Skeeter Phelan, a young white woman writing a book based on the stories of black maids working in the South during segregation. These maids are portrayed by Davis and Octavia Spencer.
For those not yet familiar with the formidable actress, the film shot Davis into mainstream stardom and earned her an Oscar campaign. In 2012, Spencer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for The Help.
Still, Davis feels the film didn’t do justice to the voices of black women at the center of the story. “I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she said. “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.”
Despite her issues with the film in general, Davis doesn’t regret the relationships she forged with the other cast members and director Tate Taylor. “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 Tate Taylor.”
Ava DuVernay shared similar sentiments about the film in a tweet she posted of the Times article. The award-winning filmmaker revealed that The Help was her last job in PR, and that it actually pushed her to begin making movies of her own.
Widows, the heist drama starring Davis from Steve McQueen, hits theaters November 16.