Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson and More Award Hopefuls on Variety’s “Actors on Actors”

Taraji P. Henson and Ryan Reynolds | Variety

Variety Magazine’s most recent edition of its Emmy Award winning “Actors on Actors” series includes a number of Hollywood heavy hitters; all of whom are promoting their films for the 2016/2017 awards circuit. The following are full video interviews of Viola Davis (Fences), Tom Hanks (Sully), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Dev Patel (Lion) discussing the art and business of acting.

Tom Hanks and Viola Davis

Viola Davis: You have to dare to fail when you’re an actor. Because otherwise you get way too precious. I just saw it as an opportunity for redefinition. And what happens is your imagination is absolutely the biggest tool you have as an actor and writer. And that is the one tool that gets tossed out the window when it comes to people of color.

Tom Hanks: One of the questions that we’re supposed to ponder was what are your fears when it comes to this [being an actor]? If you have any fears in this, get out. Don’t even show up. You cannot be afraid of failing…

Ryan Reynolds and Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson: When you have a project, you have to find the right house for it. You may have a brilliant script, you may have all the pieces to the puzzle, but in the wrong hands it’s a flop.

Taraji P. Henson: How has social media changed the game for you?

Ryan Reynolds: I’ve only had it for a year and a half and I applied it specifically to “Deadpool.” As soon as “Deadpool” was greenlit, I got Twitter, I got Instagram, I got Facebook. The social media game for “Deadpool” was such a huge part of it, huge part of the  marketing. I mean, a lot of the stuff we shot we just shot on my iPhone…It was huge for creating a groundwell for “Deadpool.”

Annette Bening and Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris: I just saw women as strong and capable. And yet on film and on television those weren’t the women that were being represented to me. And so I just thought at the start of my career I’m going to make it my mission or the criteria in which I choose roles is going to ensure positive images of women. And I just thought playing a crack addict wasn’t really part of that. So initially I had huge reservations about taking on the role. It wasn’t until Barry explained to me that this was based on his own mother, and that’s what really touched me.

Greta Gerwig and Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali: I was really excited to be a part of it [Moonlight] because I was such a fan of his work. I think he’s a genius. We throw that around a lot but Barry Jenkins is a genius.

Dev Patel and Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer: We’ve seen so much archival footage about the space race, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and all of these astronauts. And when I heard this pitched to me “oh it’s about these three black women mathematicians that helped get our astronauts to the moon,” I thought ‘well that’s great, that’s a great story but won’t people know that it’s not true because we’d never heard this before in history of ever?’ And when I found out that it was a true story it was something that I felt like I had to do. I felt compelled that we would not go into another decade without us knowing about these women.

Dev Patel: Films like “Hidden Figures” and “Lion” are really important because they’re anthems of diversity, they’re anthems of love, they’re anthems of perseverance.

Published December 22, 2016 by The3As staff.