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Viola Davis savors 'messy' humanity in new role

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 8:54 am

BEVERLY HLLS, Calif. — Bless this mess, Viola Davis says.

The much-acclaimed actress stars in the new ABC drama "How To Get Away With Murder" from hit-maker Shonda Rhimes, playing a charismatic, complex and Machiavellian law professor who holds a group of students in thrall.

"I love the fact that she's messy and mysterious and you don't know who she is," Davis told reporters Tuesday at a session of the summer TV critics gathering.

No wonder psychologists and therapists prosper, she went on, explaining, "I think as human beings we are a mess. But a lot of times the narratives we see in TV, film or even theater don't match the mess. I think that's a challenge for any writer, any artist, to match the art with the mess of what we call life. And that's the appeal of this character."

She acknowledged that she has landed many satisfying roles during a career that includes "Traffic," ''Antwone Fisher," ''Solaris" and "The Help." But there have been other roles, she added, "where I haven't been the show. It's like I've been invited to a really fabulous party only to hold up the wall. And I wanted to be the show!"

There'll be no simple holding-up-the-wall for Davis on "How To Get Away With Murder," she declared. Her show premieres Sept. 25.