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Viola Davis: 'I was a character actress until The Help'

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Viola Davis has said she considered herself a character actress before her starring role in The Help.

The Oscar-nominated actress told USA Today that although she received acclaim for the 2008 film Doubt, she has spent most of her career attempting to shine in smaller roles.

Viola Davis, 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

© PA Images



"I've had to channel my talents in narratives that were incomplete, and those two or three scenes in a movie, I've had to try to make them work, flesh them out as real human beings," she told the newspaper. "I haven't had the benefit of a full journey, a character who's been in every frame of the movie. That's been my thing, up until The Help."

Davis also credited The Help with helping her find her "voice" as an actress.

"It wasn't really until I started really justifying my choices with The Help that I really started to find my voice," she said. "When you're standing up for yourself, you really are alone, no matter how many people have your back. And you really have to soul-search to find your own justifications for why you do what you do."

Davis recently defended The Help against claims the drama advances stereotypes of African-Americans as maids or servants in Hollywood films.

She explained: "I think that we want to see [is] different people on screen other than the maids, other than the urban mother, other than the gang-banger. OK? So it's valid in that sense.

"But this movie still, regardless of all of that criticism, is a great story."

Davis has already won the Screen Actors Guild Award for The Help and is also nominated for the 'Best Actress' Oscar and BAFTA awards.

> Denzel Washington: 'Viola Davis will win Oscar for The Help'
> Oprah Winfrey to interview Jonah Hill, The Help stars on Oscar show

Watch a trailer for The Help below:

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