With her performances in “Doubt” and “The Help” both garnering her deserved Oscar buzz, actress Viola Davis quickly attached herself to another awards season hopeful, the education-reform drama “Won’t Back Down.” Apparently 20th Century Fox believes so too, and along with moving the film’s release date from the spring to fall, they’ve released a number of clips showcasing Davis’ acting chops as well.
“Won’t Back Down” follows two mothers, played by Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal, struggling with the inner-city public school system in which they are deeply involved. Davis plays a teacher deeply impassioned about her job, while Gyllenhaal portrays a single mother who persuades parents around her for change while also tending bar and selling cars. “The Wire” star Lance Reddick shows up as head of a school board, while Rosie Perez, Ving Rhames, Bill Nunn, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste round out the supporting cast.
From the footage shown, director Daniel Barnz (“Beastly”) is obviously going for a brisk, feel-good classroom drama, somewhere between “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and the slightly broad tone of “North Country,” but it’ll require a look at the final product to see if it all gels together effectively. Both Davis and Gyllenhaal are clearly having fun with their roles though, so if nothing else the two actresses will make for a compelling watch overall.
“Won’t Back Down” hits theaters on September 28th, so take a look at the clips below, in addition to the film’s poster. [Shadow & Act]