*Viola Davis was interviewed for the third segment of “60 Minutes” on Sunday (Dec. 6), where she opened up to correspondent Jon Wertheim about her new role as Ma Rainey, her relationship with August Wilson’s material and her life growing up in abject poverty.
The 55-year-old is one Grammy short of being an “EGOT” (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner), and spoke about her journey from the projects in Rhode Island, where she and her sister used imaginary friends, who were rich and white, to mentally escape their surroundings.
“Jaja, Jagi darling. They were our imaginary friends, me and my sister Deloris, who were the closest in age,” she said, laughing. “And we would play these, like, two rich white women from Beverly Hills. We would imagine all these fabulous dishes that we would be eating. And at the same time as a way to escape our lives into these sort of shadow characters who were everything that we weren’t.”
Davis also said that she didn’t initially feel that the role of Ma Rainey in Netflix’s upcoming film adaptation of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was something she could pull off.
“Here’s the thing about acting. It’s a weird Peter Pan syndrome that happens. So, I still saw myself as that 19-year-old girl going, “I can’t play Ma Rainey. I’m too young. You gotta get a more formidable actress who’s been out there for 40, 50 years,” until I realize “Viola, you’re actually a little bit older than what Ma Rainey is.”
Watch Davis’ entire “60 Minutes” interview below: