Talk about one hell of a prestige package. Viola Davis is flat-out one of the best performers working today, as evidenced by her work in films like Doubt, The Help, and the upcoming Fences as well as her fiercely dynamic turn in the ABC series How to Get Away with Murder. But now Davis may be lining up her most promising leading role yet, as she’s set to star in the next film from 12 Years a Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen.
Per Variety, Davis will star in the heist thriller Widows, which boasts a screenplay by McQueen and Gone Girl author/screenwriter Gillian Flynn. Based on the 2002 British miniseries of the same name, the film revolves around four armed robbers who are killed in a failed heist attempt, only to have their widows step up to finish the job. New Regency is handling the film.
After 12 Years a Slave won the Best Picture Oscar, McQueen—who also helmed the critically acclaimed character dramas Shame and Hunger—decided to move to television for his follow-up project, crafting a limited series about race for HBO called Codes of Conduct. Unfortunately, HBO shelved the project and declined to move forward, so McQueen moved on.
He looks to come back strong with Widows, however, which he’s been developing since the time he signed on to make Codes of Conduct. Variety notes that the filmmaker is focusing all of his energy on this film at the moment, and he’s looking to put together a stellar ensemble. Jennifer Lawrence was reportedly approached for one of the lead roles, but scheduling conflicts forced her to pass. Regardless, one imagines a number of incredibly talented actresses would be eager to work with McQueen, especially now that he’s set Davis as the ensemble’s anchor.
A straight-up thriller is new territory for McQueen and marks what could be his most commercial project yet, but he is a singular filmmaker at heart, meaning this could be something really special.
Davis, meanwhile, is currently filming the third season of How to Get Away with Murder, so one imagines she’ll shoot Widows during her hiatus which begins next spring. She’s also now firmly a part of the DC Extended Universe having debuted as Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad, but it’s unclear how often she’ll be popping up in those films. In the near future, she’s got a major awards contender on the horizon with Fences, which opens this December. Everything’s coming up Davis, and it’s about damn time.