“It Destroys Our Art Form”

Viola Davis says escapist movies, social media 'destroys our art form'
Viola Davis says escapist movies, social media ‘destroys our art form’ ( Photo Credit – Viola Davis / Instagram )

Oscar winner Viola Davis says social media has undermined her art form, especially as it relates to modern theatrical movies.

The ‘Fences’ and ‘The First Lady’ actor delivered a blunt and juicy indictment of what it takes to market films nowadays, reports ‘Variety’.

In a conversation about her content label JuVee at the annual Produced By Conference on Saturday, Viola Davis discussed the notion of escapism at the cineplex and how tentpole movies can erode the nuance of storytelling.

“Social media has taken over the defining of this art form. I think that the word ‘escapism’ is something that is interesting — the goal all of us have is to sit in a movie with the popcorn and Sour Patch Kids and forget about our lives — but, literally, it destroys our art form,” Viola Davis said.

Davis explained that her tween daughter consumes big commercial fare like Marvel, which Davis says she’s a fan of, but “every time you’re in a room selling a narrative, it’s about how much you can create a story that allows us to escape.

“The characters then become a Mr Potato Head, become Bobble Heads. We forget who these people are really until a movie comes along and blows our mind.”

Sitting with husband and business partner Julius Tennon, Viola Davis explained that she created JuVee Productions to help explore stories rooted in reality. Davis said those kinds of prestige projects exist for “seeing ourselves, our mess.

But those narratives usually don’t have people in it who look like us. It’s a resistance to our humanity.”

“I would be bolder,” Viola Davis suggested.

“I have to say, especially as a Black person, there are so many things that are taboo. Most of the people you’re in the room asking for money or for a green light, there are certain things you don’t say. It’s going to be too insulting. You don’t know until you try.”

“My mother always said, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed,” Tennon concluded.

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