Viola Davis’s career is exploding. “Suicide Squad,” her first action-packed blockbuster, based on the Super-Villains in the DC Comics, opens Friday.
Davis plays Amanda Waller, a U.S. Intelligence Officer who recruits super-villains for secret missions to defeat enigmatic, entities threatening the universe. She’s more badass than any of the villains she recruited. Although Waller has no super-powers, she’s the puppet master to the weird baddies who do her bidding or face execution.
Later this year Davis co-stars with Denzel Washington in August Wilson’s masterpiece “Fences,” which Washington also directed. Both actors received Tony Awards in 2010 for these roles. The likelihood is that they’ll be up for Oscars.
Davis also has a number of projects in the pipeline, including movies about Harriet Tubman and Barbara Jordan that will be produced by JuVee Productions, the company she formed with her husband Julius Tennon.
Last year Davis won an Emmy for playing Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Although she’s been an acclaimed actress for some 25 years, she first got singled out for her Oscar nominated performances as a grieving mother in “Doubt” (2008) and a servant in “The Help” (2011).
Viola Davis was at the Tribeca Film Festival in April to promote her movie “Custody,” directed by James Levine and produced by her production Company. Davis said she was excited about “Suicide Squad.” She told Showbiz411 in the green roon, “You know, hey listen, I’ve had enough aprons! I’ve held enough babies, so I think I’m good!”
Sunday afternoon Viola Davis attended a press conference in midtown Manhattan to promote “Suicide Squad,” along with director David Ayer and fellow cast members Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Adam Beach and Karen Fukuhara also participated and seemed to be in party mode. (Kinnman said they had partied late together the night before and the group was still in party mode.)
During the press conference a journalist asked Viola Davis what she tapped into to connect with her character:
“I definitely want to know how you connected with that character,” Kinnaman cracked.
Kinnaman plays Rick Flagg, the no-nonsense officer who reports to Waller and tries to keep the Suicide Squad under control.
“Joel gave me a book called Confessions of a Sociopath and I read that book extensively,” Davis said. “It’s a confessions of a woman who’s a sociopath and one of the things I found out was that a lot of CEO’s of companies are sociopaths, people who have no guilt. If they cry they’re only crying because they feel like they’re losing control.”
Viola continued: “And also I tapped into Viola at eight years old, cause I can’t tap into Viola at fifty one. At eight, I could beat somebody’s ass.” (Everyone laughed.) “I could beat somebody’s ass. I was just always angry because people were always teasing me. I was bullied. And I remember that was the first story I told David when I met him. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, Viola, just tell about your childhood… I said, ‘Well David, I remember when I was eight years old I kicked a lot of ass…so there was a part of me that had to tap into that because with women, with me, I’m always apologizing. I’m shy. I’m always retreating. I never tap into my power and Amanda Waller is not that! She is unapologetically brutal!”
“Yeah!” Kinnaman said.
“Yeah, cause I had to call him pussy a couple of times,” Davis said, pointing to Kinnaman. “I had to tap into that because otherwise I would have retreated and with this movie I couldn’t retreat, so that’s what I did.”
“She did not retreat at all!” Kinnaman reiterated. “It was pretty much every day that me and Viola had together on set she would …she’d stand in front of the camera and just yell mean things at me… She’d be like, ‘Hey Joel, Joel! You little Bitch!’”
“And I’d go, ‘Okay, good morning, good morning,” Kinnaman sighed. “That was my experience.”