Viola Davis opens up about playing 'iconic' Michelle Obama in new Showtime series

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  • Viola Davis says playing Michelle Obama in The First Lady was nothing like anything she'd ever done before.
  • The actor spoke about her role as the former first lady during Entertainment Weekly's latest Around the Table video.
  • Davis also shared more about filming scenes with O-T Fagbenle, who stars as Barack Obama.


Viola Davis says playing Michelle Obama in the new Showtime drama, The First Lady, was nothing like anything she'd ever done before.

The actor spoke about her role as the former first lady during Entertainment Weekly's latest Around the Tableepisode, which she filmed with co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Gillian Anderson, Kiefer Sutherland, and Dakota Fanning.

"It definitely is not like any other job because we're playing iconic characters that people have ownership of," Davis admitted.

Speaking about the enormity of the role, the actor shared what her first day on set was like.

"My first day was a scene where we arrived at the White House, and we drove up, and we walked in, and there was me, Viola, in the back going, 'Holy shit' at just the shift and the change and the enormity of it all."

Davis adds that that moment was "a good introduction into Michelle and Barack's administration".

"A revelatory reframing of American leadership through the lens of the First Ladies. Starring Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, this series delves deep into the Ladies' personal and political lives. Exploring everything from their journeys to Washington, family life, and world-changing political contributions, the impact of the White House's women is no longer hidden from view," reads the synopsis of the show.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

Speaking about filming with O-T Fagbenle, who stars as Barack Obama, Davis says she found immense joy in shooting the couple scenes.

"I love playing the levity of their relationship and the fun," she said. "I love that they have a good marriage. I've played a lot of tortured souls and tortured marriages, and tortured relationships. So it was great to be in the midst of this monumental position. But the friendship I felt they had and shared – and the respect that Barack has for Michelle – it was a joy to play."

WATCH THE EPISODE HERE:

The First Lady premiered on Showtime in the US on Sunday, 17 April.

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