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‘I See What Y’all Write About My Snot Tears’: Viola Davis Reveals Secret Behind Memorable Crying Scene

Actress Viola Davis reacted to a Twitter post on Monday, April 19, that critiqued her crying scenes from her countless notable roles. The post included clips from Davis’ critically acclaimed role in the 2011 movie “The Help,” and from the 2016 release of “Fences” — a film about a working-class African-American father trying to raise his family in the 1950s, while also coming to terms with events in his life. In the latter, based on a screenplay by August Wilson, Davis starred alongside Denzel Washington.

Davis told her followers that she noticed the reactions to her “snot tears,” while revealing the many times she had to redo the particular scene in “Fences” that was shown in the initial clip. She wrote, “I see what y’all write about my snot tears!!👀 😭😭😭😂😂😂😂Did y’all know we did 23 takes of that scene in @FencesMovie?💛.” Upon Davis’ revelation, several people asked the actress how and if she could produce that much snot in so many takes while others praised her body of work. 

UNSPECIFIED LOCATION – MARCH 27: In this screengrab, Viola Davis, winner of Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture categories speaks at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Press Conference on March 27, 2021 in Various Cities. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

“23 scenes of snot? Where does it all come from?”

“Did snot come out of your nose 23 times?”

“You should win every award available to be able to do that on command that many times and so authentically. Your talent is unmatched!!!”

“It’s just not tears — or the ability to “cry on command” it’s emotion, and when you cry, I cry. You’re doing something beyond acting!!”

“Wow, 23 takes! Don’t know what you’re tapping into to access those tears, but I am thankful for your gift in sharing them with vulnerability.”

Davis, who began her acting career nearly 33 years ago, revealed her greatest inspiration was the late legendary actress Cicely Tyson. In a 2020 interview with T: The NYTimes Style Magazine, Davis explained how influential the “Sounder” star was during a time of little representation of darker-toned women in pivotal roles, “You’re a little black girl with dark skin and a wide nose, you’re not cute … you’re nothing. You’re invisible. That’s when you understand the importance of a role model.”

Davis went on to work with Tyson on a number of occasions, including on the film “The Help” and Davis’s ABC show “How To Get Away with Murder” — which ended in 2020 — an ABC-TV show on which Tyson portrayed the role of Davis’ mother. 

Following Tyson’s passing earlier this year, Davis was one of many people to pen a heartfelt tribute to the actress. She took to Twitter to express how Tyson gave her the ability to dream beyond her means.

Davis said, “I’m devastated. My heart is just broken. “I loved you so much!! You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream….because it was only in my dreams that I could see the possibilities in myself.”

She added, “I’m not ready for you to be my angel yet. But…I also understand that it’s only when the last person who has a memory of you dies, that you’ll truly be dead. In that case, you will be immortal. Thank you for shifting my life. Thank you for the long talks. Thank you for loving me. Rest well.”

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