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‘Little Fires Everywhere’ Breakout Star Lexi Underwood to Play Malia Obama Alongside Viola Davis In New Series ‘First Lady’

“Little Fires Everywhere” breakout star Lexi Underwood is slated to portray former first family member Malia Obama in the Showtime anthology series “First Lady,” Variety reported this week.

The 17-year-old will star alongside Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, who is set to portray former first lady Michelle Obama. British star O. T. Fagbenle, best known for his role in shows such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” will play the 44th president, Barack Obama. 

(L-R) Lexi Underwood and Malia Obama. Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET. Alo Ceballos/GC Images

Showtime described the show as a reframing of American leadership, as told through the eyes of the women at the heart of the White House.

“This series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women, tracing their journeys to Washington through interweaving storylines with an enlightening intimacy, with season one focusing on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt,” a statement from the network read. More specifically, Malia is depicted as an open-minded and intelligent individual who pushes her parents to make socially conscious decisions.

Underwood spoke on her latest endeavor in a social media post uploaded to her Instagram page on Tuesday, March 10. Alongside a screenshot of a Deadline reporting of the news, the young actress wrote, “Sitting in so much gratitude. @michelleobama you and the entire Obama family are the epitome of excellence and will forever be my First Family.” She added, “Malia, I am humbled and honored to tell your story.”

Underwood thanked Davis, Showtime, and her “phenomenal team” Creative Artists Agency, Untitled Entertainment, and Independent Public Relations for making her dream come true. “I can’t believe I get to work with so many incredible humans 😭♥️🙏🏽,” she concluded.

Lexi Underwood. Photo: @officiallexiunderwood / instagram

Celebrity peers and fans applauded the rising star on her achievement, including fellow young actress Marsai Martin, who commented, “AHHH CONGRATS BEAUTIFUL!!!♥️♥️.”

Underwood has received high praise from critics since starring as Pearl Warren in the Hulu series “Little Fires Everywhere.” The New York Times called the actress’s performance “excellent,” noting that “the scenes between [her mother] Mia and Pearl, both the tender and the angry ones, are the show’s highlights.” Underwood’s past television appearances include “Criminal Minds,” “The Good Doctor,” “Family Reunion,” and “Will vs. the Future.”

“First Lady” was written and executive produced by Aaron Cooley. Davis also executive produced alongside her husband Julius Tennon and their partner Andrew Wang of their JuVee Productions.

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