Viola Davis & Liam Neeson Interview: Widows

Viola Davis is one of the greatest actors of her generation.  She has won multiple awards including an Academy Award for Fences, a Primetime Emmy Award for How to Get Away with Murder, and a Tony Award for King Hedley II.  Liam Neeson is a celebrated actor who has starred in such films as Schindler’s List, Star Wars: Episode I, and the Taken series. They most recently starred together in Widows, a heist film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1983 ITV series of the same name.

Screen Rant: First of all, this is an amazing film. Just blew my mind. And I feel like this is a really good character study on hustlers, and what the lengths people will go to once something is taken from them, and they kind of have to struggle. So, Viola, I've seen you play bad ass women before, like Amanda Waller, but this is a whole new level. So, what is it about Veronica that really stands out to you?

Viola Davis: That she is a different sort of badass. I think the women in this film, in general, redefined strength. Their strength is that-- is they’re rawness, is their vulnerability, is the fact that they are allowed to be women, they’re allowed to grieve. That's what stands out.  And yes, they do perform the heist. Yes, they do have guns. Yes, they do have some bad ass quote end quote scenes. But the bad ass part of it is them gaining ownership and autonomy. And getting their worth back.

Screen Rant: Now, you two, are two of the greatest actors of the modern era and it's super refreshing to me as a child of biracial parents to see that on screen. It's super refreshing. So, Liam, can you talk to me about the relationship between Harry and Veronica and how that was fostered?

Liam Neeson: I'll be honest with you. It was in the script. When I first met Steve, he said, “This is who your wife is.” I didn’t really bat an eyelid and think, “Why? Why would these two be together?” I just thought, “Okay, they met somewhere. They fell in love, got very passionate with each other, and they had a child together.” Maybe for a few nanoseconds I thought, “This is quite rare on screen.”  But it didn't last longer than that, I'll be honest with you. But certainly it was very refreshing.

Viola Davis: It wasn't a role specifically written for an African American woman. That's the way Steve saw her.  The film is an extension of his vision.

Screen Rant: Speaking of Steve, he's such a masterful director.  What is it about his directing that was more than just being on the page? Just talk to me about Steve a little bit, he's amazing.

Liam Neeson: Well, he is, he's a very special man.  I met him in London about a year and a half ago, way before we started shooting. I knew some of his work as a visual artist. And a couple of his films, I had seen. Strangely enough, I hadn't seen Hunger. Because I grew up in the north of Ireland and it was obviously very delicate and tender part of my upbringing. I still haven't seen it by the way.  But anyway, but I find myself just opening up to this complete stranger telling him intimacies. And I just loved his openness, and his honesty, and his integrity, and his dynamism. He just had a vision for this story and I went with a belief that and felt very honored that he wanted to sit down with me and talk to me about it.

Screen Rant: That’s amazing. And last question, Viola. This was an amazing role, and also, I love you as Amanda Waller. There's rumors that James Gunn might be taking over Suicide Squad. Have you spoken to him at all?

Viola Davis: I haven't spoken to him and I just found out about it just like everyone else found out. I think it's fantastic.  Great, I love Guardians of the Galaxy, so yeah.

Screen Rant: Me too. Thank you so much for your time.

More: Steve McQueen Interview for Widows

Key Release Dates
  • Widows (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018
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