‘HTGAWM’s Viola Davis: Why Playing Annalise Keating Has ‘Meant Everything To Me’

Viola Davis has anchored 'How To Get Away With Murder' as the formidable Annalise Keating since day one. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the Oscar winner about why this role changed the course of her life forever.

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How To Get Away With Murder may be coming to an end, but Annalise Keating will never be forgotten. When the high-profile criminal defense attorney and law professor stepped onto the TV scene in 2014, she didn’t just change the lives of the Keating Five. She also changed the life of the actress playing her, the one and only Viola Davis. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Viola at the HTGAWM series wrap party about what it’s meant to play Annalise Keating for 6 seasons.

“It’s meant everything to me,” Viola told HollywoodLife. “She gave me permission to see all of my womanhood and to not apologize for it, to not apologize for being a certain size, a certain hue, for having a deep voice, dark skin, not being a so-called classic beauty, whatever that means. She made me step into my truth and my authenticity without apology because oftentimes leading ladies are not played by actresses who look like me. That’s what she gave me permission to do and that’s what it’s meant to me, and then when I stepped into it, it changed the course of my career. All the projects I’ve done, this has been the job that’s changed the way people see me.”

Viola won her first Emmy Award for playing Annalise in 2015. During the show’s run, Viola has been nominated 4 more times for an Emmy and twice for a Golden Globe. In between filming the show, Viola also won the 2017 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Fences.

The actress isn’t going to dwell on saying goodbye to Annalise Keating. This is just one chapter of many in her life. “I’m really good at saying goodbye to characters, believe it or not,” Viola continued. “I’ve never had a problem with it. Maybe it’s because I understand that I’m not what I do. I’m happy to get back to my family and my daughter and to see what life has to offer me, which is so many beautiful, wonderful projects that our production company is working on. Because at the end of the day I’m an actor and, as great of an experience as this has been, it’s also a job. I’m ready to move on.” The final episodes of How To Get Away With Murder will air Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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