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Hollywood Insider

Sharon Stone, Kerry Washington and other Hollywood actresses find their voices

Los Angeles — It is interesting to note that during these times of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, more and more Hollywood actresses are stepping up, being more active then before and behind the camera, getting more daring in speaking their minds out, finding their voices, revealing truths and enjoying bonding and working together.

In separate interviews, we talked to Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Sharon Stone, Stana Katic and Anna Paquin who were all honest, open and vocal about women finding their voices and standing together.

Below are excerpts of our interviews with them:

Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”)


All photos courtesy of Janet Susan R. Nepals/HFPA
All photos courtesy of Janet Susan R. Nepales/HFPA

I am sure that there is a woman out there who is the head of a company and who is still finding her voice. I am sure.  I am sure the woman who will become the President of United States is in some way still trying to find her voice.  Finding your voice is something that is way deeper than standing in front of someone and giving a very empowered speech.

Owning your voice is owning your life and owning your truth.  And that is a journey that all of us have to take at some point, and hopefully we get it by the time we get to the grave. But unfortunately, most of us don’t.

I know being a mommy, you get together with all those mommies, and everybody wants their kid to be great: My kid was potty trained by the time they were nine months. My kid makes straight A’s. My kid is getting into Stanford. My kid has hisown business. My kid knew what she wanted to do at a young age. Everybody is living their dreams through their kids because everybody wants their kids to be great. 

Nobody talks about happy. Nobody talks about significance. Nobody talks about contentment. At the beginning of my career, I felt that way, but even if I weren’t an actor I would probably feel that way because that’s what you have to contend with, as soon as you walk out there in the world.

It just takes a long time to find truth. It just does. It’s hard, it’s hard work to step into a room because everyone wants to fit in, but no one wants to belong. In the fitting in, you are like okay, so what is everyone else saying? What does everyone else like?  Yeah, I like it too, when inside you are like, I don’t like that, and I could give a shit about that.

It takes a long time to realize okay, "you know what, I am going to say, even if I risk isolation that I don’t like it. This is who I am." That’s all of us across the board. Except for Frances McDormand, she is my new hero. I love that woman! I really do, she is awesome! I am going to be Frances McDormand. My publicist is cringing back there, but I am going to do my next profile and I am going to say that I am not wearing make-up and I am taking this wig off, and I don’t need a stylist, just take a picture.

Kerry Washington (“Scandal”)


On how her character in ‘Scandal’ helped her find her voice:

It's one of the things that I have learned from Olivia Pope actually. Playing this fearless character has taught me a lot about what that looks like and what it sounds like. It's almost like I've been able to in this seven years that I've been her professionally. I've been able to have dress rehearsals of what courage looks like in my body, what fearlessness feels like, how power feels, so that if I can try it on with her, it's like a dress rehearsal.

Then I can go out in the world and know what it looks like for me. So one of the gifts of playing her is that she has instilled in me a sense of competence, possibility and courage and just over all “bad assness” that I'm very grateful to Olivia for helping me know what that looks like and feels like for me.

Sharon Stone (“Mosaic")


On her thoughts of what is happening now in Hollywood:

We need to have places for women to say what is going on and we need to have consequences. While I am grateful that the press is starting to provide a place, is the press really the place?

Let’s get real. We should be having this in high school and colleges and these are the places where we really need to teach our young men and women what’s going on. This is the germination place, where this begins and where this should be ending. We need to teach our pubescent men and women what’s right and wrong. This is the dangerous places where this needs to be addressed. 

We do have to remember that we are in a business that we are proud to be in, and we are working with men and women that we are proud to be working with. We are living and raising our children in an environment that we chose and love to work with. We also have to decide are we going to allow people and are we going to have truth and reconciliation?  Are we going to be able to say I did this, I am accepting my consequences and I am in treatment and I have done this and I am going back to work?  Or, here is the extremity of my behavior, no, I am not going to be able to go back to work.  But there has to be shades to this, it’s not all black and white.

I feel that to make it all black and white is as extreme as the problem and that we have to be respectful of ourselves and others in this process. We have to think this through, just like we shouldn’t be allowing serial killers to be writing books about their life in prison, nor should we be allowing serial rapists and abusers to be coming back to work. But people who are in these other shades of things, should be allowed to take responsibility, have some care and go back to work. We can’t have this black and white scenario, we have to be thoughtful about what we are doing.

I do believe that the movement is extraordinarily needed and valid, but we have to be as women speaking out, we can’t be handling it the way men handle things.  We are not linear thinkers, we are concentric thinkers. We think in shades, we handle things, we are the people who can have dinner on the stove, ironing a shirt, just coming home from work and ready to go to work and the next thing, feeding the kids and speaking to the babysitter, getting something for our husband and speak to him while he is doing something and he bumps his head. 

Because men are linear, we aren’t. Which allows us and affords us the opportunity to think about this in pieces, in parcels, in areas of gray, which is important that we don’t get shoved around in processing this in a black and white way, and we aren’t manipulated in the way that we consider what’s happened and in the way that we consider how it should be responded to.  We don’t have to be forced to respond in a male way.  We need truth and reconciliation, not just truth.  We need to respond in a female way.  I think that’s key and it demonstrates the point frankly to me, but that’s just one woman’s opinion.

Stana Katic (“Absentia,” “Castle”)


On whether she feels there is a bit of a societal pressure now happening finally:

This is an exciting, wonderful gift we are being given. It’s not just women. It’s minorities. It’s people who perhaps have different sexualities. An underrepresented group, suddenly gets representation in a position of decision making that has reverberating effects across the globe. 

For that reason, our stories will only become more and more interesting. We will have a broader range of stories to tell. I want to see those stories. I want to see the stories about the Deep South and I want to see the stories from minority groups in the middle of Thailand or what not. I want to see those stories, those are true. I relate to those stories because those are human stories and it’s not man/woman, black/white, Asian/European, those are human stories. That’s my soapbox.

On whether she has found her voice especially as an executive producer of “Absentia” and after her abrupt exit from “Castle”:

Do I think I found my voice? Good question. I feel like I am growing constantly. I feel like I am learning and understanding what it means to take on these different positions and roles in filmmaking and in entertainment. I am fortunate to be partnered up with Sony on this project because they have been so welcoming. A lot of our Executive Producers are women and I think that they have just approached it in a very kind of, let’s come to the table, best idea wins sort of way and that is a really wonderful and really comfortable space to work from. So I feel like I am growing into what it means to have that voice and be that collaborator and truly trying to be the best partner that I can in that situation.

Anna Paquin (“Bellevue”)


On finding her voice as executive producer of “Bellevue” and working with women:

I've done some producing on my own and my husband and I have a company together. I produced a really little film with my brother about 10, 15 years ago now. It's not as uncommon.

I started out working for Jane Campion and Jane Chapman and a whole bunch of really bad ass women so I was more surprised when I walked onto the set and it's like there are no women anywhere. I've had the privilege of getting to be around some amazingly strong women in this business and having a lot of directors.

Producing is a natural evolution from being a very detailed and focused actor. If you're paying attention and you know how a set is supposed to run, you understand the different departments and how it's all supposed to come together.  It's very natural to want to be involved in the process of putting that team together and constructing that story. It is a team sport.

We are moving in a great direction as far as giving more emphasis on the female voice creatively or inclusion in general. — LA, GMA News