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Viola Davis

Viola Davis is a critically revered actress of film, television and theater and has won rave reviews for her intriguingly diverse roles.

Davis recently signed on to star opposite Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. The story, written and directed by Ned Benson, follows a New York City wife surprising her restaurateur husband with the decision to return to college. There will be two films (His and Hers), told from the point of view the husband and the wife. William Hurt and Bill Hader also star. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is filming in New York and will be released in 2013 by Myriad Pictures.

In 2012, Viola and her husband Julius Tennon founded a multi-ethnic production company, JuVee Productions, committed to excellence in film, television and theatre. As their first project, they have optioned the rights to Ann Weisgarber's 2008 book The Personal History of Rachel DuPree. DuPree, a fictional early twentieth century Chicagoan leaves home to become a rancher's wife in South Dakota's Badlands. The neighboring white settlers rely on each other during 1917's crippling summer drought, but the pregnant DuPree is isolated by both race and geography. The story focuses on her struggle to survive and provide for her family, but also examines the harsh racial struggles facing the rarely-explored lives of black pioneers.

In March 2012, Davis began production in New Orleans on writer-director Richard LaGravenese's Beautiful Creatures opposite Emma Thompson and Jack O'Connell. The adaptation of the Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia novel follows two teens who must confront a curse that has haunted the girl's family for generations. Davis plays a librarian and friend of the teenage boy's deceased mother, who loves him like a son and will do whatever she can to protect him. Warner Bros. and Alcon are producing. The film will be released on February 15, 2013.

Also this year, Davis began production on Summit Entertainment's Ender's Game. Set in Earth's future, this story follows a genius strategist recruited by the government to help destroy an insect-like alien race. Davis will play Major Gwen Anderson, a military psychologist who oversees the emotional welfare of young trainees. Gavin Hood will direct, and the film also stars Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and Harrison Ford. Hood penned the adaptation of Orson Scott Card's novel. The film will be released on November 1, 2013.

Davis costarred with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in the Stephen Daldry picture Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. This film tells the story about a boy in search of a mysterious key left by his father when he was killed in the September 11th attacks. Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures released the film on January 20, 2012.

In August 2011, Davis captivated audiences and critics alike with her portrayal of Aibileen Clark in The Help. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1960's, The Help chronicles the relationship between three different and extraordinary women who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer also star. Davis earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performances by a Female in a Leading Role and a Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress for her performance. She was also nominated for Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and British Academy Film Award. The film won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and a Critics' Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble.

In 2010, Davis returned to Broadway in the highly anticipated revival of August Wilson's Fences, alongside Denzel Washington. Davis' portrayal of Rose Maxson earned her a Tony Award, as well as Drama Critics' Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award. Fences was also honored with the Tony Award for Best Play Revival and was the most profitable theatre production of the year.

Also in 2010, Davis was seen in a six-episode arc in Showtime's hit series United States of Tara, written by Academy-Award winner Diablo Cody. Davis portrays Lynda P. Frazier, a wildly eccentric artist and friend to €˜Tara' (Toni Collette).

In 2010, Davis appeared in the 20th Century Fox action-comedy Knight and Day directed by James Mangold. The film centers around a fugitive couple (Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz) on a glamorous and sometimes deadly adventure across the globe. Following Knight and Day, Davis was seen opposite Julia Roberts in the Sony Pictures film Eat, Pray, Love in which she plays Roberts' best friend. Davis starred alongside Emma Roberts, Lauren Graham and Zach Galifianakis in the Focus Features' drama It's Kind of a Funny Story.

In 2008, Davis starred in the critically revered film Doubt based on the Tony Award winning play, where she portrayed Mrs. Miller, the mother of a young boy who piques the fascination of a Catholic priest. Davis shares the screen alongside Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Davis was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The National Board of Review recognized Davis with the Breakthrough Award and she was also honored by the Santa Barbara Film Festival as a Virtuoso.

That same year, Davis shared the big screen with Diane Lane, Richard Gere and James Franco in the drama Nights in Rodanthe, directed by George C. Wolfe. Based on the novel of the same name, the film centers around a woman (Lane) who retreats to the tiny North Carolina coastal town of Rodanthe to watch over a friend's (Davis) inn for the weekend. There she meets a male guest (Gere) who is seeking shelter from a pending storm and their lives subsequently begin to intertwine. The film was released by Warner Bros. on September 26, 2008.

Additional film credits include the highly revered drama Antwone Fisher, where her performance earned her an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, Madea Goes to Jail, State of Play Law Abiding Citizen, Disturbia, The Architect, Get Rich or Die Tryin, Syriana, Far from Heaven, Solaris, Traffic and Out of Sight.

Davis' television credits include a co-starring role in the A&E mini-series The Andromeda Strain with a cast that includes Benjamin Bratt, Eric McCormack and Rick Schroeder; a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU; a recurring role in the CBS mini-series franchise Jesse Stone opposite Tom Selleck; a starring role as Diane Barrino in "Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story for Lifetime; a starring role in ABC's Traveler playing Agent Jan Marlow; Century City, Lefty, and the Steven Bochco series, City of Angels. Additionally, she had roles in Oprah Winfrey's Amy and Isabelle, and Hallmark Hall of Fame's Grace and Glorie."

In 2004, Davis lit up the stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Lynn Nottage's play, Intimate Apparel directed by Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan. She garnered the highest honors for an off-Broadway play, including Best Actress awards from the Drama Desk, the Drama League, the Obie and the Audelco Award. Davis was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award as well. She reprised her role at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles where she was recognized with the Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics and the Garland Awards. In 2001, Davis was awarded a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Tonya in King Hedley II. She commanded the attention of critics and audiences alike for her portrayal of Tonya, a 35-year old woman who is forced to fight for the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. Davis also received a Drama Desk Award in recognition of her work.

Davis is a graduate of The Juilliard School and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from her alma mater, Rhode Island College. Davis resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2012.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Viola Davis Facts

BirthdayAugust 11, 1965 (57)
BirthplaceSaint Matthews, South Carolina, USA

Selected Filmography

Suicide Squad Extended Cut
Suicide Squad
The Help
The Shrink Is In
Ender's Game
Eat Pray Love
Nights in Rodanthe
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