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Viola Davis On Donald Trump’s America: “I Feel It’s Bigger Than Him”

Deadline logo Deadline 1/9/2017 Denise Petski
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Viola Davis had some strong words about Donald Trump when asked about the President-elect backstage following her best supporting actress win for Fences.

After Davis noted that she liked doing stories about average people, a reporter asked her if she felt Trump’s presidency would have an effect on the country’s progressive efforts.

“I will remove Trump from the equation because I feel that it’s bigger than him,” she said. “I feel that it is our responsibility to uphold what it is to be American and what America is about, and what it means to pursue the American dream.” She continued, “I think that America in and of itself has been an affirmation. We’ve fallen short a lot because there is no way that we can have anyone in office that is not an extension of our own belief system. So then what does that say about us? If you answer that question I think that that says it all.”

Davis won the Globe for her role as Rose Maxson in Fences, an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning play, for which Davis earned a Tony Award for the same role. When queried about bringing the stage play to the big screen, Davis described it as a “natural fluid movement.”

“It already is an intimate story but not intimate in a way that is small, ” she continued. “With any great writer who writes tragedy, we know that they write about big emotions, people within the confines of a family or community fighting for their lives. It was a joy and pleasure to have that challenge and to have August Wilson’s words and characters.” She expounded, “Very seldom does the average person get their due, especially with people of color. It’s usually someone who did something in life that changed the scope of our country. I like the stories of the smaller people. It encapsulates time, it’s universal, and inclusive.”

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