Viola Davis on Lack of Diversity in Film: ‘If It’s a Black Movie, at Best It’s a Biopic’

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Although television has made big strides in diversity, progress in feature films has been slower, Viola Davis and Tom Hanks discussed in a one-on-one interview for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors.”

Davis, who stars in the drama “Fences” as well as on ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” talked about the barriers and expectations that people of color face in the world of film.

“Even in fabulous roles, they are still within the confines of being ‘strong,’ ‘a device,’ ‘funny,'” Davis said. “If it’s a black movie, at best it’s a biopic because it makes the audience feel comfortable that I am investing in this black person’s humanity, who I already know has made a mark in the world.”

The interview will air in its entirety on Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” Season 5, presented by The Venetian Las Vegas, which debuts on PBS SoCal on Jan. 3.