Viola Davis’ 10 Fiercest Roles In Movies And TV Shows

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Ilze Kitshoff/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Viola Davis as Nanisca in “The Woman King”.

Viola Davis, 57, is one of our biggest working actresses today – and she’s got an Oscar, an Emmy and two Tonys to prove it. This month, she stars in the historical epic The female king as General Nanisca, the leader of an all-female warrior squad that protected the African kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin) in the 18th and 19th centuries.

To prepare for the role, Davis underwent an intense training regimen to get her in fighting shape. “When I was a girl…I just wanted to be lean and thin,” she said People. “I’ve always been muscular and thicker, and I felt like my femininity couldn’t be created with this canvas. And then all of a sudden, with this role, my muscles, my arms, my legs thick, heavy voice were perfect. I felt shameless about it. I celebrated it physically in every way.

But even when Davis isn’t kicking literal kicks, she’s made a career out of playing fiercely independent women: mothers and wives, housekeepers and teachers, and even a first lady. Here, nine more of the intricate and complicated roles that made Viola Davis an awards magnet and a fan favorite.

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