Playing a real-life, living person is always thorny for actors. (Look no further than Patrizia Reggiani’s criticism of Lady Gaga’s lack of “good sense and respect” for not reaching out to her ahead of the highly anticipated fashion crime drama House of Gucci.) But according to a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Michelle Obama couldn’t be more thrilled that Viola Davis will portray her in the upcoming Showtime anthology series First Ladies. The actress, Obama gushed is “the greatest.”
“I feel that I'm not worthy,” Obama continued. “I wish I could be better to live up to the character that Viola has to play, but it’s exciting.”
Davis just made history as the first Black woman nominated for two Best Actress Academy Awards. To Obama, the recognition is beyond deserved. “Anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor,” she said. “I know she will do no less for this role.” Her comments will no doubt bring Davis some relief; the actress had previously admitted she was “a little scared” to go forward with the role.
Susanne Bier, the Danish director behind Bird Box, The Undoing, and The Night Manager, has yet to announced a premiere date for her latest. But production is already underway in Covington, Georgia, with a strikingly all-star cast. The Handmaid’s Tale’s O-T Fagbenle and The Undoing’s Lexi Underwood will play Barack and Malia Obama, respectively. The Ford family is even more star-studded, with Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty, Gillian Anderson as Eleanor, Aaron Eckhart as Gerald, and Dakota Fanning as Susan. Last but not least, Judy Greer will play Betty’s assistant and close friend, Nancy Howe.