Is her new movie 'Beautiful Creatures' the next 'Twilight?' / Jason Merritt / WireImage
When she was 12, Viola Davis decided she wanted “to be somebody and make a mark on the world.” It took a while, but the actress, 47, has two Oscar nominations (Doubt and The Help), a 2-year-old daughter, Genesis, and, later this year, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her new movie, Beautiful Creatures, is a supernatural drama that might fill the gap left by the end of The Twilight Saga films.
Born in South Carolina, Davis grew up in a culture of superstition. “For instance, you couldn’t sweep over my father’s feet with a broom or he’d go to jail. Walking over a grave was absolutely forbidden. As a child I believed it 100%, but I’ve gotten over most of it. Those superstitions make you live too much in fear. You relinquish too much of your power and control. Those are themes in the movie — that your whole life is predestined.”
Davis is proof that determination can bring success. “I was a troublemaker in school. It was about challenging authority and getting attention. But I wanted to get out and explore the world and the possibilities of my life more than I wanted to be bad, so I changed.”
And she sought role models. “My mom was very politically active, but because we grew up so poor, I needed a rope. ... The people who could move me forward in my life were outside of my family.”
After graduating from Rhode Island College and Juilliard, Davis slowly built her acting career. Now she’s learning to juggle work and motherhood.
“When my sister Delores had her child, she said, ‘I want her to be proud of me.’ I love that. I want to be the person my daughter looks up to. I don’t want her to have to seek examples in the entertainment industry or people who may be out there on the street whose character she may not know. ...
“If you botch up raising your child, nothing else matters.”