Dario Calmese wanted to ‘rewrite the narrative’ with Viola Davis’ Vanity Fair cover

Photographer Dario Calmese wanted to “rewrite the narrative” with his groundbreaking Vanity Fair cover featuring Viola Davis.Calmese made history by becoming the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of the magazine in its 37-year tenure, and he …

Photographer Dario Calmese wanted to “rewrite the narrative” with his groundbreaking Vanity Fair cover featuring Viola Davis.

Calmese made history by becoming the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of the magazine in its 37-year tenure, and he told the New York Times he saw an opportunity to overhaul the traditional glossy cover and turn it into a bold statement.

“For me, this cover is my protest,” Calmese said. “But not a protest in ‘Look at how bad you’ve been to me, and I’m angry, and I’m upset’. Rather, it’s: ‘I’m going to rewrite this narrative. I’m just going to take ownership of it.’

“It’s about replacing the images that have been washing over all of us for centuries, telling us who we are and our position in the world and our value.”

He noted that he wanted the Oscar-winning actress to look incredible in her blue taffeta MaxMara trench dress, which she wore backwards, revealing her back to the camera. The colour of the trench was deeply symbolic, as indigo-coloured cloth was used as currency in the slave trade, and Calmese insisted Davis’ hair should be natural for the cover, with three different Afros given to the hairstylist on set.

Calmese refused to follow the “whole glamour moment” in mainstream magazines, and instead wanted a sombre feel for the 54-year-old’s cover.

He also revealed he didn’t realise he was going to be Vanity Fair’s first-ever Black photographer when he accepted the assignment, but he wanted to step into the spotlight when he found out the scale of the shoot.

“I did know that this was a moment to say something,” he said. “I knew this was a moment to be, like, extra Black.”

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Gina Prince-Bythewood to direct Viola Davis in The Woman King

The Old Guard’s Gina Prince-Bythewood is set to direct Viola Davis in historical epic The Woman King. Prince-Bythewood has already lined up her next directorial project, just days after her action movie, starring Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne, debute…

The Old Guard’s Gina Prince-Bythewood is set to direct Viola Davis in historical epic The Woman King.

Prince-Bythewood has already lined up her next directorial project, just days after her action movie, starring Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne, debuted on Netflix and shot straight to the top of the streamer’s viewing charts.

She will next direct Oscar-winning actress Davis in the TriStar Pictures movie, which is also being produced by the Fences star and her husband Julius Tennon, via their JuVee Productions banner.

According to Variety, The Woman King is a historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The story follows Nanisca, to be played by Davis, general of the all-female military unit, and her daughter Nawi, who together fought the French and neighbouring tribes who violated their honour, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they lived for.

“We at JuVee are beyond excited to introduce this incredible story of the Women Warriors of The Dahomey Ahosi tribe to the world. It’s time that they truly occupy their place in history and in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s hands, it will be a gamechanger. This project could not be a more perfect example of our legacy,” said Davis and Tennon in a statement.

When Davis’ casting was first announced in March 2018, Lupita Nyong’o was attached to portray her onscreen daughter Nawi, but no mention is made of the Black Panther actress in the latest update.

Prince-Bythewood has also directed films such as Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights. She recently expressed interest in making two sequels of The Old Guard.

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Viola Davis: ‘I betrayed myself starring in The Help’

Viola Davis feels she betrayed herself by starring in The Help.The star played maid Aibileen Clark in the 2011 drama, which was an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by black maids in America’s southern states duri…

Viola Davis feels she betrayed herself by starring in The Help.

The star played maid Aibileen Clark in the 2011 drama, which was an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by black maids in America’s southern states during the 1960s.

Viola has previously expressed her concern over starring in the movie, and in a new interview with Vanity Fair, the Oscar-winning actress confessed she wished she’d never accepted the role in the first place.

While she fondly remembers her time on set with co-stars Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney, the 54-year-old said The Help was “created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism”.

“I cannot tell you the love I have for these women, and the love they have for me. But with any movie – are people ready for the truth?” she asked, noting that while the movie is loved by millions, she still has big issues with the storyline.

“There’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to (tell the whole truth),” she said, adding that The Help catered to the “white audience”.

“Not a lot of narratives are also invested in our humanity,” the Fences star explained. “They’re invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but… it’s catering to the white audience.”

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James Gunn was told he could ‘do whatever he wants’ with any DC Comics’ character

James Gunn was told by Warner Bros. executives that he could do what he wants with any character from the DC Comics universe.Last year, the filmmaker was hired to helm The Suicide Squad, which is a loose sequel to David Ayer’s original 2016 blockbuster…

James Gunn was told by Warner Bros. executives that he could do what he wants with any character from the DC Comics universe.

Last year, the filmmaker was hired to helm The Suicide Squad, which is a loose sequel to David Ayer’s original 2016 blockbuster, and filming finished just before the Hollywood shutdown amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

In a Q&A on his Instagram Stories, Gunn was quizzed about the upcoming movie, which sees Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis, and Joel Kinnaman reprise their roles, and revealed that when he was in early talks with Warner Bros. about helming the film, he was offered his pick of projects.

One follower asked the 53-year-old if the rumours that he was asked by studio bosses to direct a standalone Superman movie were true, prompting Gunn to set the record straight.

“No one offered me a specific film, but various characters were brought up. DC said I could do what I wanted with any of the characters,” he explained. “I chose Suicide Squad because of my love for the Ostrader books, and movies like The Dirty Dozen. I couldn’t be happier with the film so far!”

He also cryptically teased the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and told followers that the third movie, which is currently on hiatus due to Covid-19, would be the last for him and his cast, including Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Zoe Saldana.

“It’s probably my last one, and probably the last with the current team. But you never know!” he quipped.

Elsewhere in the Q&A, Gunn revealed that helming a huge superhero ensemble blockbuster would never be in the pipeline for him.

“I haven’t been asked, but wouldn’t do it if I was,” he replied to one fan, who asked if he would ever direct an Avengers movie. “Just doesn’t appeal to me.”

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Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t accept The Help role if offered it today

Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t accept a role in The Help if the film was offered to her today.The 2011 movie, which also starred Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone, was based on Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by blac…

Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t accept a role in The Help if the film was offered to her today.

The 2011 movie, which also starred Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone, was based on Kathryn Stockett’s book, and focused on racism encountered by black maids in America’s southern states during the 1960s.

Bryce played the spoiled and selfish Hilly Holbrook in the film, and while she is “grateful” to have landed the role early on in her Hollywood career, she wouldn’t sign on for the project now.

The 39-year-old told The Los Angeles Times that because the movie, directed and adapted by white filmmaker Tate Taylor, was “created by predominantly white storytellers”, she felt it was time for audiences to look for projects featuring black storytellers.

“Right now, in this time, stories are going to play a crucial role in our ability to empathise and to be inspired into action, and the storytellers who we must listen to right now and look to and learn from,” Bryce explained. “There’s an extraordinary body of work that centres on black characters from black creators.”

When asked if she’d play Hilly if offered the part today, she replied: “No.”

Earlier this month, the actress addressed the news that The Help has become the most-watched film on Netflix due to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests across the world, and urged her followers to watch other films that focus on the struggles of the African-American community.

“The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further,” she posted on Instagram, and suggested her fans check out films such as Malcolm X, Selma, and Just Mercy instead.

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Viola Davis and Lin Manuel-Miranda sign letter calling for diversity in theatre

Viola Davis and Lin Manuel-Miranda have signed a letter calling for more diversity in theatre.The Oscar-winning actress is among the Hollywood stars leading the call for change in the industry and has signed an open letter addressed to ‘White American …

Viola Davis and Lin Manuel-Miranda have signed a letter calling for more diversity in theatre.

The Oscar-winning actress is among the Hollywood stars leading the call for change in the industry and has signed an open letter addressed to ‘White American Theater’.

Sandra Oh, Uzo Aduba, Sterling K. Brown, Cynthia Erivo, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Danai Gurira, Andre Holland, and Leslie Odom Jr. also signed the letter, which emphasised the systemic racism against black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in the business.

“We see you. We have always seen you. We have watched you pretend not to see us,” the message began, before going on to detail incidents of racism and exploitation. “We have watched you exploit us, shame us, diminish us, and exclude us. We see you. We have always seen you. And now you will see us. We have watched you amplify our voices when we are heralded by the press, but refuse to defend our aesthetic when we are not, allowing our livelihoods to be destroyed by a monolithic and racist culture.”

Hamilton creator Miranda shared the open letter on Twitter and asked for his followers to join the We See You movement.

“Join us in demanding change for BIPOC theater artists at http://weseeyouWAT.com. #WeSeeYou #TomorrowTherellBeMoreOfUs,” he wrote, alongside a link to the petition.

The letter comes amid racial inequality and injustice protests in the U.S. and around the world following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota last month.

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Bryce Dallas Howard suggests alternatives to The Help in support of Black Lives Matter movement

The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard has written a list of recommendations of “more appropriate” films for people to watch in order to educate themselves on racial inequality. The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Howard, …

The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard has written a list of recommendations of “more appropriate” films for people to watch in order to educate themselves on racial inequality.

The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Howard, focuses on two black maids who have their racist experiences documented in a book by a white aspiring journalist, played by Stone. Despite its success at the time, the movie has since been denounced for focusing on the ‘white saviour’ narrative and sidelining the black characters.

Last week, The Help was added to Netflix and went straight to the top of the streaming service’s movie chart, but as the addition coincided with the widespread Black Lives Matter protests over the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd, film critics later took to Twitter to suggest viewers watch alternative movies if they wanted to be educated on racial injustice and inequality.

Howard joined in on Sunday night by sharing a collage of films and TV shows that she would recommend instead of The Help.

“I’ve heard that #TheHelp is the most viewed film on @netflix right now!” she wrote in the caption. “I’m so grateful for the exquisite friendships that came from that film — our bond is something I treasure deeply and will last a lifetime. This being said, The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further.

“Stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action. If you are seeking ways to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, lynchings, segregation, Jim Crow, and all the ways in which those have an impact on us today, here are a handful of powerful, essential, masterful films and shows that center Black lives, stories, creators, and / or performers.”

Howard went on to list Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, film Selma, and TV miniseries When They See Us, as well as the films Just Mercy, Malcolm X, and I Am Not Your Negro.

Her co-star Davis previously voiced regrets about starring in The Help, and told The New York Times in 2018: “I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard.”

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Film critics speak out as The Help reaches number one on Netflix

Film critics have urged audiences to watch better “black films” in response to The Help becoming the most-watched movie on Netflix.The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone, is set during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 and…

Film critics have urged audiences to watch better “black films” in response to The Help becoming the most-watched movie on Netflix.

The 2011 drama, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone, is set during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 and focuses on two black maids who have their racist experiences documented in a book by a white aspiring journalist. Despite its success at the time, the movie has since been denounced for focusing on the ‘white saviour’ narrative and sidelining the black characters.

The Help was added to the streaming service this week and went straight to the top of the movie chart. Its popularity on Netflix coincides with widespread Black Lives Matter protests over the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd, and critics and journalists responded to The Help’s chart position by urging people to watch other documentaries and films about racial injustice and inequality instead.

“I’m so sorry but the last thing folx (folks) need to be watching are bootleg ‘racial reconciliation’ movies like ‘The Help,'” film critic Rebecca Theodore-Vachon wrote. “If you need a list of Black films, Black film critics are on here happy to suggest some really good ones.”

“Do not watch the f**king ‘Help’ right now…literally anything but ‘The Help,'” Ashly Perez posted, before suggesting viewers watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, as well as her movie Selma, and the filmmaker’s four-part miniseries When They See Us.

The Help was a box office hit, grossing more than $216 million (£171 million) worldwide, and Spencer landed a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as maid Minny.

However, her co-star Davis previously confessed she regrets starring in the movie as she was disappointed with the focus of the film.

“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” the Oscar winner told The New York Times in 2018. “I never heard that in the course of the movie.”

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Cindy Bruna tapped as brand ambassador for L’Oreal Paris

Cindy Bruna has been named as the new international spokesperson for L’Oreal Paris.The French model, who is of Italian and Congolese descent, was discovered at the age of 16 and has since gone on to star in campaigns for the likes of Prada, Burberry, a…

Cindy Bruna has been named as the new international spokesperson for L’Oreal Paris.

The French model, who is of Italian and Congolese descent, was discovered at the age of 16 and has since gone on to star in campaigns for the likes of Prada, Burberry, and Chanel.

Now, Cindy is about to make waves in the beauty world, having landed her first major gig for a cosmetics company.

“Today, I’m very happy to announce some great news that is happening in my life. It has been one of the biggest dreams I’ve had since I started my modelling career and I’m very humbled to announce that I just signed with L’Oreal Paris,” she said in a video posted on Instagram. “I grew up watching the commercials on TV, I grew up admiring these women and it’s such an honour for me to join this big family. As a French girl being the new face of such an iconic brand from my home country is everything.”

Cindy joins a roster of diverse spokespeople, including Viola Davis, Celine Dion, Helen Mirren, Eva Longoria, Elle Fanning, Aja Naomi King, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Camila Cabello, among others.

And the brunette beauty insisted that she has always appreciated L’Oreal Paris’ famous “Because I’m worth it” tagline.

“It means so much to me. It’s this deep sense of self-esteem that makes us beautiful. It is embracing who you are and the diversity around you because we are all worth it. Especially in this tough time we are going through right now. Let’s not forget that even in the darkest moment we can see beauty,” the 25-year-old added.

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Viola Davis: ‘It took me a long time to wear red lipstick’

Viola Davis took a “long time” to get the confidence to wear red lipstick.In a new interview with People.com, the Oscar-winning actress and L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador opened up about the changes to her beauty regime now that she’s in her fifties. …

Viola Davis took a “long time” to get the confidence to wear red lipstick.

In a new interview with People.com, the Oscar-winning actress and L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador opened up about the changes to her beauty regime now that she’s in her fifties.

Specifically, Viola noted that she is working to highlight her features rather than hide them.

“I love embracing my nose and my lips. It’s like all of a sudden I was like, ‘Viola, that’s what your lips always looked like? Why’d you have a problem with that?'” she shared. “I love wearing red lipstick, which took me a long time, because I think my lips are fabulous. Now, I don’t want to look like anyone other than me. That was a big thing in my twenties.”

Viola also revealed that she used to struggle to find the right foundation and concealer for her skin tone, especially after her complexion changed as she got older.

“(You don’t want one) that is too ashy or too dark,” the 54-year-old explained, noting that she needed a formula that “feels like a part of your skin” so you “don’t feel like it’s wearing you.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Viola confessed she once dreamed of looking like Oprah Winfrey after falling in love with the outfit she wore to the 1986 Academy Awards.

“I wanted to look like Oprah, especially when she went to the Oscars for The Color Purple,” she gushed. “I thought she was the most beautiful (woman).”

But Viola has never admitted that to Oprah’s face, even though they’ve since become friends.

“Literally, Oprah went to one of my weddings and I never had the guts to say, ‘Oprah, I was always trying to look like you!'” the How to Get Away with Murder star laughed.

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