Viola Davis says she regrets her Oscar-nominated role in The Help.

Answering fan questions for The New York Times while promoting her new film Widows, Davis said the film watered down the stories of the black maids in the film.

"Have I ever done roles that I've regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list," she said. "But not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great. The friendships that I formed are ones that I'm going to have for the rest of my life.

"I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor."

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She continued: "I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn't the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They're my grandma. They're my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie."

It's not the first time Davis has criticised The Help; in 2017, while speaking at the BAFTA event A Life in Pictures, she said aspects of the film were historically inaccurate, and that the anger of the maids was either sanitised or edited out of the film.

Davis won an Oscar for Fences in 2017. Her new film Widows, directed by 12 Years a Slave's Steve McQueen, debuted to strong reviews at Toronto International Film Festival.

Widows, also starring Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo, is slated for a November 22 release in New Zealand.