Viola Davis has declared that she regrets her role in the 2011 movie The Help, despite the fact that it saw her land an Oscar nomination.

Davis played the role of Abileen Clark, one of two maids working for white families in 1963 Mississippi whose stories – and adversities in the face of racism – are told from the point of view of a white female journalist (Eugenia Phelan – played by Emma Stone).

However, some critics found the framing of the story to be problematic, with its narrative of the ‘white saviour’ obscuring the dynamics of the real story. Davis, speaking to the New York Times this week, agreed with those arguments, even though she enjoyed working on the period drama film and found the experience to be “great”.

“Have I ever done roles that I've regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list. But not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great. The friendships that I formed are ones that I'm going to have for the rest of my life,” she explained.

Viola DavisViola Davis has expressed regret over her role in 'The Help'

The Help, in which Davis starred alongside Octavia Spencer (as the other maid, Minny Jackson), Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain, saw Davis nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

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“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn't the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They're my grandma. They're my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”

53 year old Davis, who has won a Tony, an Emmy and an Oscar in her impressive career, also spoke about the responsibility she feels as a leader as a “great black female hope for women of colour”, describing it as “a real professional challenge”.

“Being that role model and picking up that baton when you’re struggling in your own life has been difficult. Looking at the deficit and seeing that once you’re on top, you can either take the role of leadership or you can toss it in the garbage and say, ‘I’m just out to save myself.’ I choose to be the leader.”

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