Viola Davis says she was inspired to make Annalise Keating pansexual on “How to Get Away with Murder” after watching an episode of TLC’s “I Am Jazz,” which follows transgender teen Jazz Jennings.
In an interview with PrideSource in promotion of her new thriller “Widows,” Davis describes the moment in the reality show that made her view Annalise differently.
“They were talking about who they see themselves with in the future, and they were like, ‘Whoever, you know. I’m open. I’m open to a boy, I’m open to a girl.’ And they started talking about just the attributes of the people they wanted to be with. That transformed me more than anything,” Davis says.
“I thought that was a great idea for Annalise because Annalise is so damaged, so traumatized that what if she just said, ‘I’m just open to love’? God, think about what we can explore there,” she continued.
On the series, Annalise has dabbled with numerous relationships with men and women. She was married to Sam Keating (Tom Verica) and was also involved with detective Nate Lahey (Billy Brown). She has a flirty relationship with her colleague, Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) and was in a serious relationship with death row attorney Eve Rothlo (Famke Janssen).
Davis says “I had everything to do with that,” of Keating’s pansexual identity, although she does also credit series creator Pete Nowalk.
“How to Get Away with Murder” airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC. You can also catch Davis in “Widows,” directed by Steve McQueen, which hits theaters on Nov. 16.