Viola Davis is slated to debut in her first-ever leading role in a television series on ABC titled “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Prior to this, the 49-year-old was continuously cast as the character who served the purpose to “hold up the wall” of the narrative, she stated in the New York Times.
Rather than having the opportunity to show off her skill set and diversity as an actress, Davis was cast as “lawyers or doctors who have names but absolutely no lives.” More times than not, it was only “three or four scenes,” which only allowed the 30-year veteran a “little bitty paycheck,” leaving her “hungry for [the] next role, which is going to be absolutely the same.”
Though she was often given the short end of the stick, Davis did not allow it to deter her from achieving her goals. “Even when I get the fried-chicken special of the day, I have to dig into it like it’s filet mignon,” she said to the New York Times, referring to her roles.
“How to Get Away With Murder,” which includes Shonda Rhimes as one of the executive producers, will air on Thursday nights following Rhimes’s two hit series, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” The hope is that ABC will generate another instant hit. However, Davis is cognizant her age and color may be a deciding factor that will determine whether or not viewers embrace her.
“I don’t see anyone on TV like me in a role like this. And you can’t even mention Halle Berry or Kerry Washington,” she said noting both women are noticeably lighter hues.
The ABC cast will film 15 episodes in five months. Davis’ role as professor Annalise Keating is described in three words: brilliant, charismatic and seductive.
“How to Get Away With Murder” series premiere is Thursday, Sept. 25.