You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Another Supporting Role For Viola Davis – Joins Cast Of ‘The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby’

Another Supporting Role For Viola Davis - Joins Cast Of 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby'

Despite all the critical acclaim, accolades, and several vocal pushes by the likes of Meryl Streep, Viola Davis continues to be relegated to supporting roles in films that center on stories about Caucasian characters. 

I’m glad that she formed her own production company and has seemingly taken a much more active role in her career, creating opportunities for herself (namely the 2 projects we know about that she optioned – a novel, The Personal History Of Rachel DuPree, and the Barbara Jordan story – although it’s anyone’s guess if/when either of these films will materialize, as we all know, money is often a hinderance; there’s also the HBO project with Dee Rees).

I’m certainly glad that she’s working consistently, but, as we’ve noted previously on this site, she deserves far more than what she’s getting; to be front and center, leading and commanding. She unquestionably has the talent and the screen presence.

Ahh well…

Today’s news comes from a Screen Daily exclusive which broke over the weekend, stating that the Oscar nominee has joined the cast of The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, which stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy in a love story that explores a New York City couple’s relationship during a difficult time in their marriage, from both perspectives – that of the husband (McAvoy), a restaurant owner, and of the wife (Chastain), who goes back to college.

It’s supposed to be a double-project – two movies in one, telling his and hers stories.

Also in the film are William Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, Bill Hader, Ciarin Hinds, and others.

Ned Benson is directing; Cassandra Kulukundis is producing. Myriad Pictures is producing and financing, with production said to have already begun in New York.

No word on what role Viola will play in this.

This Article is related to: News and tagged



I don't know if this has been said already(not scrolling through 62 comments to find out) but the only way Viola will get lead roles on a consistent basis is if she creates them herself. Waiting on Hollywood is like waiting on Romney to release his tax returns.

Oh please

Yell at White Hollywood but how many Black filmmakers would hire Viola for a sexy lead role. They'd hire someone looking like Halle Berry and you'll know it. Looks and age are important in D business. Black filmmakers too go for actresses w/ light skin and European features. They do it more than Whites. Indian filmmakers too. Viola knows what she's up against. Making the most she can out of it. Stop picking on her.


You guys always want to believe hollywood are the enemies in reality they are not. We've seen projects viola's company is developing and there's nothing sexy about the women she wants to potrary in those projects. The enemy is within sometimes. Hollywood doesn't function to make viola or anyone either white or black a star, making money and tones of it is all they see. I agree there is racism there as in everywhere but blacks need to quite complaining all the freaking time, embrace themselves and work together. By blacks I mean black around the world because we are enough for ourselves if we embrace ourselves. My two cents.


I've read all the comments and although I see a few of my favorite debators are throwing down, I don't have a dog in this fight. And really, I think many are agreeing more than disagreeing, but nobody is willing to concede a single point. So let me do my thang. First, it's unjust to compare Viola Davis's career and opportunities to ANY white actress. It's not that kind of party. First and foremost, Viola is a BLACK actress, consequently she will never get the same considerations as her white counterparts (i.e. leading roles, quality scripts written for her or with her in mind, a large contingent of friends, family and acquaintances in the industry, a unified fanbase, etc). Second, it goes without question that there are literally hundreds of white actors who have fallen out of "grace" and it had little or nothing to do with their acting prowess. In that regard, Viola is ahead of the game. Now, in reference to "quality" scripts written with black actresses in mind, Viola told the truth about the dearth of black writers who write multidimensional black characters. She took fire for standing on that claim, but it's the truth. I watch hundreds of films each year (white & black) and unfortunately, very seldom does one written and performed by black actors come anywhere near the top of what I'd consider "exceptional". Not the acting nor the writing, most pale in comparison. And if history serves us well, Viola is no different than the other championed black actresses that have gone before her. So why are people always so quick to vilify her? In my opinion, she's a great actor and she's doing just fine. Btw, she's also attractive.


Somebody please do some damn research, VIOLA is sexy as a Motherfuc* , they tone down her sexuality cause they think she won't come across as such, but they do that with any dark deep sexy chocolate sistah, but she is sexy!!!! but if she goes up against Blake Lively she will loose every time as far as they are concerned. You can't tell me that Mellisa Leo is sexier than Viola, you think Ellen Burnstyn is sexier than Viola, oh wait a minute, Helen Mirren is Sexier than Viola and Helen can yawn and scripts with roles fall out of her mouth, so you tell me what we have here, I love all those actresses I named but less be fair and look at it from every angle and corner and sliver and slice. Viola should get bunches of work !!!


Why does Hollywood always tend to down play the looks of darker skinned women? Viola is stunning, and when she does layouts for magazines her beauty shines through. When she does these tv shows they have her looking like she just woke up out of bed. SMH


Get a better Agent..


Interesting that most of the comments are couched in what Viola Davis is "getting." She's not just "getting" supporting roles, she's taking them. If you know the playing field is not level and you decide to play by the uneven rules of the uneven-playing-field-layers, this is what happens….you receive more praise for the likes of "The Help" than for all of your previous roles combined. You are complicit in your own pigeonholing. The trajectory of her career is solely up to her; hopefully now with her production company she will create more meaningful, worthy and flattering roles for herself and other unseen, uber-talented actresses of color like her. I know that she (like all of us) wants/needs to work, but at the end of the day, the choice of what work she does is hers. And let's face it, perhaps she keeps taking the strong shoulder/hand-holder/asexual/quasi-mammy roles, because that's where her comfort zone is—no matter how reprehensible, offensive or asinine I or anyone else may think those roles are. I would never begrudge her her artistic choices, even if I don't like them. It's called freedom. (Although I also feel free to say that I think the whole idea of making "The Help" in the 21st century and the masturbatory Hollywood frenzy around it was sickening….and only happened because she and Octavia Spencer were playing maids. But I digress.) Viola Davis is a black woman who (by her own admission) balked when the Los Angeles Times Magazine reporter suggested that she do that infamously gorgeous photoshoot with her natural hair. Her initial reaction was (and I quote) "I can't do that!" which speaks volumes. If you are a person of color within Hollywood…or anywhere else in the entertainment industry, particularly a woman of color (and over 30!), you need an inordinate amount of strength, resilience, pride and a titanium sense of self just to persevere, let alone thrive. My hope is to see her embrace grander roles that are worthy of her immense talent; maybe now she's gotten the drift that she'll have to create those roles. Just do it already! It's not fair, but it's the way it is and it's damn sure better than the alternative. Plenty of others have done it (2 examples off the top: "Frida"/S. Hayek and "The Dorothy Dandridge Story"/H. Berry) and it is exceedingly clear that Viola Davis will never portray anything other than an emotional backdrop in white characters' narratives if Hollywood has its druthers.


Nikki, Blutopaz just likes to argue with everyone for no reason at all.


As an actress, age and looks are always going to be factor. This is show biz and although she is a remarkable actress, talent doesn't make you a "star". I'm interested that she's going to develop her own projects but doing a Barbra Jordan biopic isn't going to change her trajectory.


I think people have a right to be upset Viola's already done supporting shit like in Eat Pray Love she was the friend of Julia Roberts. Also, the white female counterparts in Viola's age group are still getting LEAD ROLES. Don't tell me that Edie Falco, or Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock are better actresses than Viola Davis because they are not!

It sucks that Viola doesn't get her shine! But on the other hand Viola needs to work to make money she's not getting any younger. So I figure Viola feels she's got to strike the iron while it is hot and just work, work, and do more work. But it must be frustrating for Viola that she can't be the star the female lead in her movies. She's got the talent it would be nice to see Viola really get a good role she can sink her teeth into. I actually would love to see Viola in a romantic comedy.


Most of the White women named (with the exception of maybe 3) mostly do supporting work. They certainly don't get as many roles offered as the Younger White Actresses or Male Counterparts. For Salma, If you mean more High Profile roles as in animated movies than sure. She only had a supporting role in the mixed "Savages" So I definitely wouldn't count her as doing better than Viola. lol


Many people are saying Viola should be getting the same consideration as her counterparts, that's not shitting on her. I mentioned film AND television actresses for a reason, since tv has become very profitable for actors as well. Salma may not be a lead, but she gets more high profile parts than Viola. What about JLo, how many times has her acting been panned but she stays getting leads, vs. Viola's seasoned stage, tv and film career? And most actors have slumps in their careers, it hasn't stopped Sigourney from being the LEAD in a tv political drama, Toni Collette, Edie Falco, Glenn Close and Laura Linney from getting LEADS in highly acclaimed recent or current cable tv shows as well. Melissa Leo has publicly lamented the fate of older actresses, and she has still worked more consistently than Viola. Other than a few Law & Order episodes, i can't even place where Viola has worked prior to The Help and her recent stage work. And oh yes, the 5 minute crying scene in Doubt, how could i forget.

What do we have for leads for tv (let's not even discuss the moot issue of film and Black actresses at this point)–Kerry Washington, Regina King (which is more of an ensemble type casting)….anyone else? Jada and that nurse show no one watched, can't think of another one right now. It's not an attack on Viola so slow your roll. It's more of an indictment of the industry than anything else-. It makes no sense that Fiddy gets more acting work than Angela Bassett. And in all honesty I'm not upset for Viola. She's getting and creating her own work, and her "Black filmmakers/audiences are holding the Black artist back" comments made me see her differently. But she'll be aight, it looks like she has the strong, silent Black woman casting on lock.

Oh please

She can always sign up for a Tyler Perry movie. Will have a Black cross dressing hand to hold instead. You act like White women Viola's age who don't look like supermodels have lead roles coming out of ears. Unless you are Meryl Streep once you hit a certain age they give you only supporting roles.


who cares what role she's playing! she said herself that there was a time where she didn't work for 9 months. The only job she did get was in a terrible Tyler Perry film. The woman is making more money this year than she's ever made, leave her alone! Samuel L Jackson, is rarely ever in a lead role, where's the criticizing article about him and his career?


I definitely agree that she needs better roles, but you also have to look at her age.


"No word on what role Viola will play in this."

She will be the White woman's hand holder and strong shoulder to cry on, of course.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *