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Viola Davis on ‘Widows’, MeToo and Expressing Her Femininity

To Viola Davis, being naked on screen or onstage means more than having your clothes off. It means ridding yourself of self-consciousness and ego. It means exposing yourself. “Oftentimes you do see dynamic acting — there are a lot of really dynamic actors — but there is a sense of vanity,” says Davis. “I always say that when people get naked on stage it always looks like they’ve been to the gym for about five years. And we all know that’s not the case. When we get naked in life, we may have some rolls of flesh around our stomach. You may have some stretch marks. Now that’s intimate.”

There was, memorably, no vanity in Davis’ Rose in Fences,” a performance that reached its aching crescendo in her shattering, snot-dripping “18 years of my life” monologue. But in Steve McQueen’s electric Chicago underworld thriller Widows, Davis’ raw intimacy includes a dimension she has rarely, if ever, gotten to express in film — her sexuality.

“It’s a part of the strength. It’s a part of the badass-ness. It’s a part of the vulnerability,” Davis, fighting a cold, said in an interview the morning after Widows premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. “The first scene in the movie I’m in bed with Liam Neeson. That may seem like not a big deal to you but to me that was a big deal.”

In Widows, McQueen’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Davis stars as the wife of a veteran thief (Neeson) who dies, along with his crew, in a heist gone wrong. For their spouses, it’s almost as if their lives have also been extinguished. But with Veronica Rawlins’ leadership, they (the other women are played by Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon) resolve to take over their late husbands’ criminal plans and pull off what none expect them capable of.

“This was a great experiment in exploring how to work out getting back your power,” says Davis. “In my life I’m still learning that.”

When a reporter points out that she — one of the most movingly outspoken advocates for on-screen representation and inclusion — seems quite in control of her considerable power, Davis demurs. “Like everyone, I have my good moments and bad moments.”

Give her a movie!’

Davis has won an Oscar (for Fences), an Emmy (for How to Get Away With Murder) and a Tony, twice (for Fences and King Hedley II) — a trifecta that no other black actor has accomplished, and few others, for that matter. Along the way, her impassioned acceptance speeches have been some of the most potent thunderbolts of inspiration in the wider fight for diversity, beamed out to the unrepresented and the overlooked everywhere.

But it’s been almost a decade since her Doubt co-star Meryl Streep pleaded “My God, somebody give her a movie!” at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (and later called her “possessed to the blazing, incandescent power”). Since then, Davis has been a mainstay on screens big and small, but she has seldom — except in the Shonda Rhimes ABC series and now Widows — been front and center. She has even expressed some regret over 2011’s The Help, noting “it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard.” The same year, Davis formed a production company with her husband, actor Julius Tennon, with whom she has an eight-year-old daughter.

For McQueen, Davis’ lack of leading performances is one of the most glaring injustices in Hollywood.

“She can only be judged by the films she gets to do. Don’t forget: She could not really make a living in film because no one was giving her any roles,” McQueen said by phone. “She was not given an opportunity to fulfill her craft. So she had to go on television. Viola’s 53 years old. She should have a vast body of work by now.”

Does Davis feel the same way?

“I mean, yeah,” she sighs. “I sort of feel that sometimes. But I’m honored that I’ve gotten to this point. This is a very privileged life. I feel like if I sit here and I say, ‘I should have had more lead roles,’ some dissatisfaction with the moment — I can’t do that. I really can’t.”

Observers and thieves’

Davis, the fifth of six children, grew up impoverished, in dilapidated homes in Rhode Island, the daughter of an alcoholic father who was abusive to Davis’ mother.

“I became an actor because I was an observer. It’s said that actors are observers and they’re thieves. You observe life and then you steal from it,” says Davis. “The beauty of how I grew up is I saw so many horrific but glorious things happen in public. When you grow up poor, nothing is undercover. You hear everything played out because people are living in close proximity to each other. You know who the alcoholic is. You know who’s getting beaten by their husband.”

Davis has said before that she’s motivated to honor the dreams of her “eight-year-old self.” “She’s always sitting there,” says Davis. “And, really, it’s easy to make her happy, whereas it’s sort of hard to make me happy now.” And she lets out a belly laugh.

Bigger than a hashtag’

That upbringing has informed how Davis has responded to the #MeToo movement: applauding it, encouraging it, but also fearing that its focus on Hollywood actresses and executives is limited. She cites her long-running involvement with Gail Abarbanel’s Rape Treatment Center at the Stuart House as the kind of place that needs support.

“It’s much bigger than a hashtag,” she says.

Widows, penned by McQueen and Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) is based on Lynda La Plante’s 1980s British series, but its tale of female empowerment has obvious connections to today. In rehearsals, McQueen would sit with Davis and the other actresses and talk through their own experiences. “All the things in our lives that we felt people didn’t see,” says Davis. “Like my femininity.”

McQueen wanted to bring all of those stories to the table. Davis would have preferred to wear a wig but McQueen disagreed. He wanted Davis to look just how she is. “I know this woman,” McQueen told her. “She just hasn’t been in the American cinema. So it’s about time we introduced her.”

Davis has made such introductions a regularity, bringing one African-American woman after another to a screen where they didn’t before exist.

“My big thing — this is my ego — I always want people to look back at this time and I want my name to be in it. I always want to be in the conversation,” she says. “Not just in movies, just in terms of people seeing themselves differently.” (Source: VOA NEWS)

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Top

India News Brief

 3 June, 2020

Several Parts of Maharashtra Witness Strong Winds as Cyclone Nisarga Makes Landfall

Cyclone Nisarga Passes Mumbai Heads Towards Pune

India's COVID-19 Figure Reaches 2,08,709 Death Toll: 5,834

India's Most Affected States:

Maharashtra: Total Positive Cases 72,300 Total Deaths: 2,465

Gujarat: Total Positive Cases: 17,632 Total Deaths: 1,092

Madhya Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 8,420 Total Deaths: 364

West Bengal: Total Positive Cases: 6,168 Total Deaths: 335

Delhi: Total Positive Cases: 22,132 Total Deaths: 556

Rajasthan: Total Positive Cases: 9,475 Total Deaths: 203

Uttar Pradesh: Total Positive  Cases: 8,870 Total Deaths: 230

Tamil Nadu : Total Positive Cases: 25,872 Total Deaths: 208

Andhra Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 3,791 Total Deaths: 68

Telengana: Total Positive Cases: 2,891 Total Deaths: 92

Karnataka: Total Positive Cases: 4,063 Total Deaths: 53

Punjab: Total Positive Cases: 2,376 Total Deaths: 47

Jammu and Kashmir: 2,718 Total Deaths: 33

Lockdown extends till June 30

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed.

  • Places of worship, hotels will open from June 8 with specific guidelines.

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

COVID-19: Delhi Death Toll Rises to 82 in Last 24 Hours

Probable Guidelines for Lockdown 5.0.

More travel routes are likely to open in Lockdown 5.0.

From June 1, the Railways will operate 100 pairs of mail or express trains, bookings have already begun. Then AC class services will resume.

Some states have already begun intra-state buses. Other states may  begin intra-tate bus services after June 1.Metro  services may begin in a limited manner, with lesser passenger capacity, social distancing norms and longer stops at each station.

Shops selling non-essential items were allowed to open during Lockdown 4.0.. More shops may open in Lockdown 5.0 even in markets.But no confirmed news regarding opening of shopping malls.Now many shops that have re-opened in market areas are operating on an odd-even basis.

Some cities have already allowed salons and beauty parlours to open with strict social distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear is a must.In containment areas the same rule may prevail in Lockdown 5.0.

The Human Resource Development Ministry of India will soon announce the guidelines of   schools reopening.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

 

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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