Viola Davis' highly-anticipated portrayal of former First Lady Michelle Obama is near. The first look photos of Davis as Obama have been released and fans cannot wait to see how Davis transitions into the role. Davis is starring in the upcoming Showtime White House, The First Lady. The show promises to chronicle the lives of three powerful women and is set to debut in 2022.
Entertainment Weekly obtained an exclusive first look of Viola Davis as the Becoming author. Also featured in the limited series are Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson as first ladies Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The first season focuses on the personal and political lives of Obama, Ford, and Roosevelt, and traces "their journeys to Washington through an enlightening intimacy," per an official show description from Showtime. Cathy Schulman is the showrunner, and Susanne Bier is the director.
Davis told EW that she did her research, even speaking with Obama herself and reading her New York Times best-selling memoir before deciding to officially sign on to the anthology series. "I feel very protective of Michelle," Davis said. She also watched Obama's 2020 Netflix documentary to perfect Obama's gestures and mechanisms. "It's our job as actors not to judge whoever we are portraying, but I ended up thinking she's just dope."
She told Jimmy Fallon earlier this year about her conversations with Obama in her preparation for the role. "And it's terrifying because ... sometimes someone doesn't live up to whatever image you have in your head. But when they do live up to the image, it's quite frightening," she said. "It really is."
Davis also shared her excitement and fears about the upcoming show in an Instagram post. "It was terrifying but an incredible honor to portray this extraordinary woman," she captioned the post. "Can't wait to share @Showtime's #TheFirstLady!"
In a chat with Entertainment Tonight, Obama said she was honored Davis was chosen to portray her. "I feel that I'm not worthy," she said. "I wish I could be better to live up to the character that Viola has to play, but it's exciting. Anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor, and I know she will do no less for this role."