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Viola Davis: 'TV is just as prestigious as movies'

Published 22/06/2016

Viola Davis
Viola Davis

Viola Davis gets the most satisfaction out of her How to Get Away with Murder character.

Actress Viola Davis hates it when fans ask if she feels "bad" about "leaving" her movie career for TV.

The 50-year-old has been in the business for more than 30 years, receiving an Oscar nomination for her role in movie The Help before becoming the first black woman to win a Lead Actress Emmy for her work on hit TV series How to Get Away With Murder.

While Viola enjoys both mediums, she doesn't appreciate it when people seem to hold film in higher regard than her TV work.

"People always say, 'Don’t you feel bad leaving your movie career for TV?' And the only thing I can say is, 'What movie career did I have?'" she told Variety. "I do five or eight days on a movie, I get my salary, and then it would be over and I would be on to the next (movie), doing my five days of work, and that was it. I think people have in their minds that movies are just more prestigious. I think that’s changed now."

For what it's worth, Viola admits she gets the most satisfaction out of her role as law professor Annalise Keating in the ABC drama.

"It stands high on the list," she said. "I understand that people will say, 'I loved you in Doubt, I loved you in The Help', and that’s fine. But this is the only role where I can play everything. I can play the sexuality, the intelligence, the heart. To me, Annalise is alive. Annalise is fully a woman."

Fans and critics love the role too - evidenced by her historic Emmy win last year (15) - but Viola insists the big award hasn't changed her: "It’s not my style to walk around and think, ‘I can’t believe I won an Emmy.’ I just don’t think like that,” she added. “It’s hard to see myself the way others see me. From my perspective, I’m just Viola."

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