Five years after Steve McQueen-directed “12 Years A Slave” took home the Oscar for Best Picture, the filmmaker is back with his latest effort, “Widows”.
With Viola Davis starring as the leader of a group of widows who must band together to finish a heist after their thieving husbands are killed, the action-drama begins by putting Davis and her on-screen husband Liam Neeson in a very intimate situation on day one of filming.
“That was more or less the truth,” Neeson tells ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante in an exclusive interview from Chicago where the film’s story is set. “‘Hi Viola. I’m Liam, love your work. Get your kit off’ and that was our first day.”
“Steve came in occasionally, I think twice to give us a little note about being a little more intimate or kissing a little bit more or looking into each other’s eyes a little bit more,” Neeson says of the intimate scene that kicks off the entire movie.
Though, as you may guess from the title of the film, their relationship doesn’t last too long, setting the stage for the women of the film to take control.
“It’s about them taking ownership,” Davis explains of the film’s female characters played by Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo. “I think the men are only the catalyst for the ownership because in the end, these women have to come face to face with why they chose these men, why they chose this lifestyle, why they’re left decimated. How do we get our lives back? So it’s not about the man, but certainly, they were catalysts in making us wake up to different character traits within ourselves.”
“Otherwise, if it really were about the dudes, we would have all had other dudes by the end of the movie and we didn’t,” she adds.
Despite more than 75 acting credits to her name, the Oscar and Emmy-winning actress reveals she still gets nervous seeing herself on screen – especially when seeing her performance for the first time, like she did when “Widows” held its premiere at TIFF in September.
“I saw it for the first time at the Toronto Film Festival,” Davis says, as Neeson says, “She was very, very nervous because I spoke to her before that.”
“Did I speak to you? I’m surprised. I’m surprised I spoke to anyone. I have no memory of breathing beforehand,” Davis replies.
But Neeson gets it, adding that he too can feel anxious about studying himself on screen.
“You’re nervous when you see something for the first time because you’re seeing all the little flaws for the first time – your character, the size of your nose, the shape of your mouth- all that stuff goes through your head,” he explains. “And then, ‘Am I conveying what the director wants? Am I conveying the character? Am I conveying the story?’ You know, it’s a whole hodgepodge of stuff.”
“Widows” opens in theatres on Nov. 16.