'Widows' cast discuss how their characters in the movie empowered them

Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki share how the powerful characters they play in their new movie drew them to the roles.
8:50 | 11/16/18

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Transcript for 'Widows' cast discuss how their characters in the movie empowered them
Listen here, baby, the critics are calling "Widows" the crime thriller of the year. It's about four women whose late husbands owe gangsters a fortune, so one of them comes up with a payment plan. Look, you just have to look. Look at the clip. Harry left me the plans for his next job. It's worth $5 million. I take $2 million, give it to the men and we split the rest. You want us to -- Pull off the job, yeah. A million a piece. A million? Maybe you have a secret plan for a special skill that can make you that kind of money, but if you don't, there's an address in the pads of money that I just gave you. Meet me there tomorrow at 11:15. What if we say no? She'll give them our names. Please welcome three extraordinary actresses, Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth debicki. ??? Hey y'all. What's up. So, let's get to this movie because I want to know what was it about this that made you say yes. I know it's got a brilliant director, and we'll talk about him too. But what was it for you that you read it and said, oh, yeah? Well, first of all, it was the director, but I have to say it was him calling me up after I gave him this huge monologue about my five different wig changes I was going to make as a character. And he said we're not going to do that. We're going to wear your natural hair because that woman exists. I see her walking in the airports all the time. With her Irish husband. She just hasn't been introduced to the American cinema. So we're going to introduce her. And so it was that and it was the love scene. Hm-mm. I just thought it was a great opportunity for me, just me in general as an actress, but especially just being a black actress, just being sexualized in some way. And it's not like -- And having them not cut it out. Yeah, exactly. And, yeah, I don't want to ruin the movie but it's just part of who she is. And I thought, she's a woman, you know. She's not just a device. She's a woman. And then she's still bad-ass. She's still very feminine. She's still all those things, so that was it. It was a no-brainer. Baby, what about you, Michelle Rodriguez? It was a tough one, you know. Linda is a mother of two children, married to, you know, an unreliable man. That's something that I saw growing up in Jersey City a lot. I didn't know whether or not I wanted to portray that to millions of people because I was always the one who did the escapism movies, you know. I'm the one trying to empower it, you know. So for me it was really scary to look at this character, but when I met Steve, here's this man who's like that one, you know, part of that 1% who has the ability to green light a feature film in Hollywood. And here's a man who decides that he wants to see this feature film through the perspective of women. And that opened my heart so much that there's no way I could have said no to him. Love that. And what about you, baby? Well, I mean, Alice, the character I play, has this beautiful journey in the movie and when we first meet her, she's very repressed and she's suffering from really horrible domestic abuse and she's very repressed by her mother. She's somebody who has so internalized this sort of sense of worthlessness. And then she goes on this incredible journey where she discovers that she's worth something and that she has a voice and that she can be independent and she meets these women who tell her that she's strong and she's worthy. I mean, I just thought it was a really amazing thing to be able to portray on the screen. And it was such an amazing movie. I have to tell you, I saw it twice. I saw it twice, yes, I did, and I saw things the second time that I hadn't seen the first time, and you all are so fantastic. Viola, what was interesting to me is Chicago is almost another character in the film. What was it like for you filming it there in Chicago, in that city? Well, I don't think it would have worked on a sound stage in Beverly hills or Hollywood, you know, because I mean, July 4th there were 200 shootings in Chicago, 22 murders. It's the mixture of races and class and at the same time art museums and history. It's alive. It's vibrant. I thought it was a great backdrop where there's sort of normalization of criminality is born. Steve Mcqueen is always say the famous line in Chicago is, "I got a guy." You know, I got a guy. Everybody seemed to have a guy in this film. It's a thing in New York too. Chicago is a symbol I think for every major city and democracy. Everywhere. So now, you've done this film. What do you want women in particular but people in general to take from it? The beauty of it for me was discovering for myself that soft power is stronger than this. It's a lot easier to stand up and say I'm willing to die for this and run in towards the guns and the blazing. I've done that most of my life just to survive, and even in Hollywood those are the kinds of feature films that I chose to do to find my Independence. It's a lot harder to stick it through, you know, and raise those kids on your own and live that route of unconditional love. It's a lot harder to do that. It's harder to be good. Yeah. You know what I mean? That's femininity. And there's power in that. This movie is real women. You're going to see real women. They're not going to be running into a closet and getting a cape and a golden lasso. These are women who literally are realistically taking ownership of their lives, grieving the loss of their husbands, and just, you know, it's almost like the heist is a metaphor for taking ownership. It's like how can we get our lives back. Let's just do something bold and brave and something that people would not expect us to do. And also what's so beautiful is it's such a conversation about sisterhood because these women meet each other and they perceive difference before they perceive any similarity because they are so different from each other, just like we are. When we made this movie, art mirrored life mirrored art in this beautiful way because we learned so much from each other and we bonded so much. There's so much love, but that's what these women find out between themselves. And on a lighter note, Elizabeth, I heard that there were dance parties during the filming of the show? Who started the whole dance party thing? Man, everybody is so uptight with all of this, you know, economic subtra fuj and corruption and abuse, you know, we needed to liven it up on set, you know what I mean? So you started it? Yeah. No, but when we say we danced, we really danced. A lot. In robes. The first dance party was after the clip you just showed. We were in our sauna robes and it was about 3:00 A.M. And Michelle put it on and we were just delirious. What was the song that came on? It was a lot of Michael Jackson. I love my motown. Yes, baby, yes, baby. You know what, it's never long enough with you. I don't see you often enough and I'm thrilled to meet you. Thank you. Please, all three, whatever you're up to, come back. Come back. And see the movie. Our thanks to Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth debicki. "Widows" opens in theaters today and if you don't go see it, you will be doing yourself a disservice because not only is it a great popcorn movie but it's all women. We'll be right back.be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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