Film & TV

Viola Davis Will Play Michelle Obama in the New 'First Ladies' Series

We said it in our winter cover story, and we'll say it again: she is most definitely killing it.
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After countless TV shows and films following the lives of U.S. presidents, Showtime is finally working to get the first ladies' side of the story. The network is in the middle of developing a series entitled "First Ladies," a project in collaboration with Lionsgate and JuVee Productions that will follow the "personal and political lives of the country's most enigmatic heroes." Naturally, one of the first things you may be wondering is who will play the iconic women the series' first season will highlight: Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Betty Ford. Luckily for fans, the team has already solved one piece of that puzzle, and the result is incredibly satisfying.

Set to play Michelle Obama is none other than Viola Davis, the first black actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting and the cover star of L'Officiel USA's Winter 2018/2019 issue. After earning acclaim through projects like The Help, Fences, and How to Get Away with Murder, the talent is more ready than ever to take on the role of one of America's most famous political women. Davis will also executive produce the drama thanks to running JuVee Productions along with husband Julius Tennon. With such an accomplished name on board, the unprecedented project's first season looks set to be a memorable one.



Davis and Obama have met on several occasions, so the former has some in-person interaction to reference when preparing for the role. The actress paid tribute to the former first lady via Instagram in January 2017, posting a photo of the two of them alongside the caption, "May you continue to shine your light and impact future generations to come." Davis is currently filming Ma Rainey's Black Bottom with Chadwick Boseman and has lined up the leading role in a Shirley Chisholm biography, which will chronicle the journey of the first black woman to run for president.

The Obamas signed a production contract in 2018 with Netflix to create documentaries and narrative dramas addressing issues of ethnicity, class, democracy, civil rights, and more. Of their reason for partnering with the streaming platform, the power couple said, "We believe each of these productions will not only entertain but will educate, connect and inspire us all." That's a strong reason to keep your subscription even when Disney takes a bunch of the platform's content to its own service this fall.

First Ladies, which features a script by novelist Aaron Cooley, will air on Showtime once production has happened. If all goes well, which seems likely considering Davis and other stellar talents are behind the project, we may be able to obsess over the political drama for far more than three episodes.








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