Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

VI­OLA Davis wants to keep it real. The 50-year-old scored the role of a life­time when she signed on to play de­fence lawyer and law pro­fes­sor An­nalise Keat­ing in How to Get Away with Mur­der.

Davis had won wide­spread ac­claim for movies in­clud­ing The Help and Doubt but a sea­son play­ing Keat­ing in the Peter Nowalk-cre­ated thriller took her suc­cess to a whole new level a fort­night ago when she be­came the first black woman to win an Emmy Award for Best Ac­tress in a Drama.

Keat­ing is an ac­tor’s dream – a multi-mul­ti­lay­ered woman full of con­tra­dic­tions – from fierce and cold-hearted to emo­tional and vul­ner­a­ble.

“It [How to Get Away with Mur­der] has changed my life,” Davis says. “No one was writ­ing like this for me in the movies. This is the first time that I’m a fully rounded woman. Peter has dared to write some­thing that pushes the bound­aries – that’s bold, that’s dra­matic, that’s sex­u­alised, that’s messy. I feel like I’m all of those things, or I know women who are all of those things.”

In sea­son two, Davis says the chal­lenge now is “to not al­low my char­ac­ter to be com­pletely dic­tated by the au­di­ence … to get swayed to [make her] lik­able”.

The first sea­son cen­tred on two mur­ders – An­nalise’s hus­band Sam (Tom Verica) and his mistress Lila Stan­gard (Me­gan West). View­ers were made to pon­der how Keat­ing and five of her stu­dents were caught up in the bru­tal slay­ings. Sea­son two has a new mur­der to solve – Lila’s friend.

“Things get more and more com­pli­cated [in sea­son two],” Nowalk says. “More than the mur­ders, we are delv­ing into the back­sto­ries of the char­ac­ters – how their ac­tions with each other get dirt­ier and grim­ier.”

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