Oscar winning actress Viola Davis has described her movie Widows with Liam Neeson as ‘ground-breaking’.
The pair star in Steve McQueen’s crime thriller and share a passionate kiss in the opening scene.
Davis says that for a 53-year-old black female lead to kiss a white actor and for their characters to be romantically involved is a rare sight in Hollywood.
She said: “For me, this is something you’ll not see this year, last year, the year before that.
“That is, a dark-skinned woman of colour, at 53-years-old, kissing Liam Neeson. Not just kissing a white man. Liam Neeson, a hunk. And kissing him sexually, romantically.”
Davis added that while audiences might not think of it as a particularly significant scene within the movie, it is a big deal for the industry as a whole.
She told the Guardian: “Nobody will pay attention to that. And if you mention it to someone, I think they’ll feel like it’s hip and it’s funky that they didn’t notice it. But will you see it again?
“If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then tell me, why isn’t it happening more? There’s a part of me that can answer that.”
Part of reason that the Davis describes the scene as ‘momentous’ is that the races of each character is not significant to the story – they are just two people in a relationship.
She said: “He’s not my slave owner. I’m not a prostitute — so he’s not my john. And it’s not meant to make a political statement. It’s just meant to be.”
The role wasn’t specifically written for a black actor, but Davis says the character is more human and three-dimensional than many female roles.
She added: “If I had turned down the role in Widows, it would have gone to a white actor.”
The movie follows the fortunes of a group of female criminals as they attempt a heist after their husbands were killed in a job that went wrong.
Take a look at the trailer for Widows below.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling