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Viola Davis just shared why she’s “a little scared” to play Michelle Obama in First Ladies, and it’s so relatable

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Lauren Geall
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Viola Davis

The Oscar-winning actress will portray Michelle Obama in a new series which will track the personal and political lives of First Ladies from throughout history.

There are those iconic roles which will always been a career-defining moment for any actress. From Lady Macbeth to the Queen, there are some on screen opportunities which just sit a tier above the rest. And we think it’s safe to say Michelle Obama is about to become one of those roles.

Last month, we heard that Viola Davis will take on the role of Obama in a new drama called First Ladies, which will take a closer look at the personal and political lives of First Ladies from throughout history.

And while this is obviously exciting news for Davis, she admits there’s a certain degree of anxiety which comes with taking on such a massive role.

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“Listen, here’s the thing, you could either fail really big or succeed really big, and I feel this is my succeed very big or fail very big moment,” Davis told Entertainment Tonight. 

“I’m a little scared… I’ve met Michelle Obama and…exactly what you think she is, she is. She’s awesome,” the actress explained. “She’s awesome in every way. She’s smart. She’s confident. She’s articulate. She believes in sisterhood.”

She continued: “I think Michelle Obama really sacrificed a lot being in the White House, being the first lady, but being the first lady of colour also, which is…who do you go to to learn that?”

Viola Davis
Viola Davis: I feel this is my succeed very big or fail very big moment.”

Davis and her husband Julius Tennon will also serve as executive producers on the show, under their company JuVee Productions.

The show, which will also see Cathy Schulman, Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan join as executive producers, will be set in the White House’s residential East Wing rather than the West, and will take a look at how many historical decisions were made behind the scenes. Alongside Obama, the first season will also shed light on the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford. 

Taking to Twitter at the time of the announcement, Davis expressed her excitement about taking on the new role, adding that she was “proud to spotlight” the incredible women at the centre of the show.

As Davis mentioned, this isn’t the first time she and Obama have come together. In 2017, days before Barack Obama’s inauguration, Davis posted a picture of herself and Obama on Instagram, sharing encouragement for the First Lady-to-be.

“@MichelleObama, may you continue to shine your light and impact future generations to come!” the caption read. 

We don’t have any details yet on when the show is likely to be released, but we do know that the drama’s first three episodes have been put on fast-track development at Showtime, according to Deadline.

Davis’ new role as Michelle Obama comes as she wraps up her six-season run as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder, the final season of which will start airing at the end of September.

Davis’ other iconic roles include her appearance as Veronica in 2018 hit Widows, and her Oscar-award winning performance as Rose Maxson in 2016’s Fences.

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