Viola Davis has fans in an uproar after seeing the first glimpses of her next role as Michelle Obama in the Showtime series “The First Lady.”
The actress is known for her strong on-screen deliveries from the television hit show “How to Get Away With Murder” to her Academy Award-winning role in “Fences.” Davis, who serves double-duty as the series executive producer alongside Cathy Schulman, said portraying the former first lady was a terrifying experience.
On social, where she shared several photos of herself and the cast, Davis wrote, “It was terrifying but an incredible honor to portray this extraordinary woman.”
The first season of the anthology will focus on the contributions of three former first ladies: Michelle Obama during her husband Barack Obama’s two presidential terms, Betty Ford portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, Eleanor Roosevelt, played by Gillian Anderson. Davis prepared for her role by doing a deep dive into learning Michelle’s gestures, mannerisms and the cadence in which she speaks, by studying the Chicago native’s Netflix documentary “Becoming.”
“I feel very protective of Michelle,” Davis told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s our job as actors not to judge whoever we are portraying, but I ended up thinking she’s just dope.”
In February 2020, when the announcement came that the series had been green lit, Jana Winograde, president of entertainment at Showtime Networks, marveled at having Davis attached to the project. “Having Viola Davis play Michelle Obama is a dream come true,” Winograde told Deadline. “We couldn’t be luckier to have her extraordinary talent to help launch this series.”
The show is slated to premiere in the Spring 2022, but Davis’ fans are already chomping at the bit to see her acting prowess in action as Michelle Obama. “You’re about to devour this role like every damn role legend. Just take all my money already,” wrote a fan online. Others commented, followed by a hand-clapping emoji: “Viola ‘Always understands the assignment’ Davis” and, another with a red heart emoji: “An icon playing an icon. I can’t wait.” “Makeup was not playing with the ‘Michelle O’ eyebrow on Viola, said another,”