Her character is a major departure from her most recent roles as a teacher in “Won’t Back Down” and her Oscar nominated portrayal as a maid in “The Help.”
In this supernatural love story, now in theaters nationwide, she plays a seer and channeler sporting scarification, or ancient body art, down her back. “I love the depth of that character.” Davis said.
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), and Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), play ill-fated teenage lovers. Lena is a caster, a person endowed with special powers, but she can’t wave a magic wand to convince her family that she should give her love to the mortal Alden. So, Lena must go to the seer, a friend of her late mother, for help.
The movie was adapted from the bestselling novel (first of a series of novels) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and Davis recognizes that fans of the novel may not like the fact her role is not true to the novel. In it there were two characters, one an elderly Black housekeeper who has been in the family for years and the other who is a librarian. However, Davis makes it clear she’s grateful to director Richard LaGravenese that she’s not a maid and he combined the characters.
“I’m thankful for that. I actually sent him an e-mail. I loved an interview that he did where he said you know what I combined the characters. I’m not going to apologize for that. This is 2013. It’s time enough for Black women being maids.”
LaGravenese cast her first in the movie. “He wooed me. He plied me over alcohol and a French dinner.” She revealed with a warm smile.
Davis was adamant about not putting on that uniform on again on the big screen. “I felt like if this woman was woven into the whole grand scheme of this story, in this world, this town, and this family and she was a friend of the mother who was in the academic world then I don’t want to be a maid. I really didn’t. I wanted to be something else. I wanted to have a different role other than the role of servitude in this. I thought she was quietly fascinating.”
She is surprisingly candid, but not revealing anything surprising about why actors take the roles they take. “You take roles for different reasons. Now the public doesn’t know that. They always say yeah, you should always do something gritty and good and multi-faceted, but that’s not the case. If you were in my shoes, what you do is – Sometimes you take a role because of the director. Sometimes you take a role because of the money. You do. Sometimes you take a role because of location. Sometimes you take a role because of the role and the script. And sometimes you take a role because of the other actors involved. I’m in the beautiful position of being able to choose at this present moment.”
Davis is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, who happens to be African American. She has been cast in diverse roles. To what would she attribute that she’s being chosen for so many different types of characters?
“You know if I were asked to play each person in this room there would be a built in diversity to it because you’re all different. And so I think that it’s built into the fabric of the character it dictates what you are supposed to do as an actor. And because, listen, I went through nine, ten years of training not to be cute. I went through nine years of training to be an actor and to kind of find the humanity in every single one of my characters. Cause guess what? Whatever you see on the screen, you can see a lot of interesting things on the screen. But, if you don’t see a human being, then that actor is not doing their work.” She passionately said.
Among the other stars of “Beautiful Creatures” are Oscar winners Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson.
Reach Tene’ Croom at [email protected]