A deep, passionate kiss is shared by Viola Davis and Liam Neeson in the opening frames of “Widows,” immediately keying audiences into the fact that they’re not watching an ordinary crime thriller. This is a Steve McQueen crime thriller, by the director who won the Best Picture Oscar for “12 Years a Slave” and who also earned raves for his groundbreaking sex addiction drama “Shame,” starring Michael Fassbender.
“You will not see that,” Davis said of the intimate bedroom kiss between a black woman and white man depicted in the film. “I don’t care how much people say they’re committed to inclusivity — they’re not committed to that,” said the Oscar winner at a screening on the 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles, attended by McQueen and other cast members.
It’s an opening scene that arguably hasn’t been done in film. As Davis put it, to have “the opening shot in this movie where you have a dark-skinned woman with a big nose and wide lips and all of that and her natural hair kissing — romantically kissing a white man onscreen.”
“Widows,” co-written by McQueen and “Gone Girl” writer Gillian Flynn, is a remake of a 1980s British TV show. The film version is set in Chicago. It revolves around the women left behind, mourning the deaths of their criminal husbands as they navigate survival in a crime world they’ve suddenly inherited. It also stars Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Farrell, Carrie Coon and Robert Duvall.
Rodriguez, also at Tuesday’s screening Q&A, chimed in on Davis’ thoughts on interracial love in movies: “The reality of the truth of the fabric of this country is multiracial. I can’t tell you how many Irish last names are on yellow, mixed race, African humans,” she said. “This is just a man who sees truth and he’s putting it on the screen,” Rodriguez added of McQueen.
“That right there has been elusive to me because of the way I look,” added Davis of her kissing scene with Neeson. “I’m just going to say it,” she added as the audience — mostly Screen Actors Guild members — erupted into applause. “Steve [McQueen], he didn’t want to hear that… He saw me as this woman. I migrate toward people who actually see me. I actually do have a vagina,” she concluded as the crowd cheered and laughed.
“Widows” opens in theaters Nov. 16.
50 Actresses Over 50 Who Still Rule Hollywood (Photos)
These strong women have aged gracefully — while still governing Hollywood.
Aside from the fact that she's the only black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress, she recently starred in "X-Men: Days of Future Past," "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" and two movies in the "Kingsman" series.
An accomplished SAG and Emmy winner, Davis starred in ABC’s hit series "How to Get Away With Murder" and the two "Suicide Squad" movies (including a 2021 sequel). She also starred in the 2020 drama "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
The Oscar nominee has been busy, voicing the mother in Pixar's "Inside Out," playing Cleo Trumbo in "Trumbo," and Martha Kent in 2013's "Man of Steel" and 2016's "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." She starred opposite Kevin Costner in 2020's "Let Him Go."
Taraji broke out in "Baby Boy," and has garnered recognition for her roles in "Hustle and Flow" and 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." She most recently starred in "Hidden Figures" and rocked everybody's world as Cookie on "Empire."
After turning heads in "The Passion of the Christ" and two of the three "Matrix" films, the Italian actress returned to the silver screen as a Bond girl in 2015's "Spectre." And then starred as Italian photographer Tina Modotti in the miniseries "Radical Eye."
The actress broke out in the late-'90s series "Ally McBeal," then starred in films like "Charlie's Angels" and "Kill Bill." In 2019, she wrapped a long run playing Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes series "Elementary."
Since her days as a "Friends" leading lady, Kudrow has been active in film and TV, playing characters in Netflix’s "BoJack Horseman," "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising," the 2019 indie hit "Booksmart" and the Netflix comedy "Space Force."
After appearing in "Elysium" and "Carnage," the Oscar-winning actress took a break from acting and returned to directing with 2016's "Money Monster" starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts and an episode of "Black Mirror." She then appeared in front of the camera in 2020's "Prisoner 760."
With a career that spans four decades, Jason Leigh earned an Oscar nomination for 2015's "The Hateful Eight," then starred in shows like "Twin Peaks," "Patrick Melrose" and "Atypical" as well as movies like 2020's "The Woman in the Window."
Despite the 2016 cancellation of her short-lived sitcom "Angel from Hell," Lynch has made strides in the past few years, hosting NBC's "Hollywood Game Night" and earning Emmy attention for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
Having appeared in both mainstream and art-house films, Moore received acclaim for her Oscar-winning performance in "Still Alice." She followed with showy roles in 2020's "The Woman in the Window" and Julie Taymor's "The Glorias."
Lorraine Toussaint (birthdate: 04/04/60)
Starting her career in theater before transitioning into film and TV, Toussaint has appeared in Ava DuVernay's "Selma" and the short-lived Fox series "Forever." She's also received praise for her work as Vee in Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" and series like "Into the Badlands" and "The Village."
Though she's known primarily for her film roles, including her turn in Spike Lee's 2016 drama "Chi-Raq" and 2018's "Black Panther," Bassett is a TV regular, particularly in FX's anthology series "American Horror Story" and "9-1-1."
In addition to being a TV personality, a two-time Oscar host and an LGBTQ advocate, DeGeneres found time to reprise her role as the forgetful blue tang in Pixar's 2016 hit "Finding Dory," the sequel to 2003's "Finding Nemo."
The Georgia-born Oscar winner returned to film in 2012 after a seven-year hiatus, and has since had roles in "The Big Sick," "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," and TV shows like "Here and Now" and "Succession."
Russo, a Vogue model-turned-BAFTA nominated actress, juggled lots of roles in recent movies, including Marvel's "Thor," the neo-noir thriller "Nightcrawler" the Nancy Meyers comedy "The Intern" and 2019's "Velvet Buzzsaw."
The actress and producer has kept busy since ending her long-running daytime talk show, overseeing her OWN network and appearing in series like "Greenleaf" and movies such as "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and "A Wrinkle in Time."
A well-known character actress, Steenburgen has appeared in several TV shows (Fox’s "The Last Man on Earth," Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black") and films ("Song One," "A Walk in the Woods"). She starred in the 2016 drama "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and 2018's "Book Club."
One of the most recognized and active women working in Hollywood today, Streep is keeping her acclaimed acting streak alive. Recent projects include "The Post," "Little Women," Netflix's "The Prom" and HBO's "Big Little Lies."
The "Ghostbusters" alum has been in 12 movies since 2010, ranging from "Chappie" to "The Cabin in the Woods." She had a cameo in 2016's female-led remake of "Ghostbusters" and stars in James Cameron's upcoming "Avatar" sequels.
Since her breakout debut in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part II," Coll has had recurring TV roles in shows like "Switched at Birth," "Glee" and "Teen Wolf." She starred as Alba Villanueva in the CW's "Jane the Virgin."
The Oscar winner is another one of Hollywood's biggest and most active actresses, including memorable turns in recent movies like the "Red" and "Fast & Furious" series as well as shows like "Catherine the Great."
1 of 51
Nicole Kidman joins Robin Wright, Viola Davis, and Laura Linney among the stars making waves on screen
These strong women have aged gracefully — while still governing Hollywood.