Viola Davis & Liam Neeson on Discovering Their Characters for ‘Widows’

     November 14, 2018

On the surface, Widows may appear to be your classic, run-of-the-mill heist flick, but Steve McQueen’s latest has far more on its mind than just double crosses and role reversals (although, yes there’s plenty of that, too). At its bleak emotional core – the film depicts the dissolution of a marriage and the lingering ramifications that haunt even after death. The film opens with Veronica and Harry Rawlins (Viola Davis & Liam Neeson), kissing in bed, post-coital – the seemingly perfect couple; but not twenty-seconds later, Harry’s revealed to be a crook and his lasted heist goes pear-shaped, the criminal shot and blown up in a police shoot-out.

Harry’s criminal exploits leave Veronica in quite the bind — indebted to a local crime boss (Brian Tyree Henry), where the only way out is to complete one of Harry’s planned schemes. The film alternates between Veronica planning this new heist (along with the widows of Harry’s former criminal-colleagues) and flashbacks to Veronica and Harry’s marriage, which was far less ideal than appearances would initially suggest.


Image via 20th Century Fox

Davis and Neeson make the most of their screen-time together, crafting a couple both honest yet duplicitous, loving yet resentful, kind yet cruel… In lesser hands, these diametrically opposed qualities would feel like just that, but Davis and Neeson somehow meld them together into a tragic depiction of true-love-gone-wrong.

In the following interview with Viola Davis & Liam Neeson, they discuss shooting Widows in Chicago, their favorite places in the city, and how they prepared for their characters. For the full interview, watch above.

Viola Davis & Liam Neeson:

  • When Widows was shooting in Chicago, did Davis and Neeson have time to explore the city?
  • What are their favorite places in Chicago?
  • Did the film or script change at all when they joined Widows?
  • What’s the first thing Davis and Neeson did to find their characters for the film?

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