Viola Davis will play Michelle Obama in a series about First Ladies (and she's already working on her transformation)


Viola Davis to play Michelle Obama


We love it when our favourite actresses get to step into the shoes of our all-time favourite women. Whether it's Helena Bonham-Carter playing Princess Margaret in The Crownor Renée Zellweger playing Judy Garland in Judy, there's something sort of magical about seeing your all-time faves come together onscreen.

So when news broke that Viola Davis is set to play former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, suffice to say we were a *little bit* excited.

Aptly titled The First Lady, the upcoming Showtime series is expected to 'peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives' of past First Ladies. In a rare break from West Wing TV dramas, the series will instead focus on the East Wing of the White House, 'where many of history’s most impactful and world changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies' say Variety.

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And it's not just Obama who's getting a starry onscreen portrayal – Gillian Anderson is set to play Eleanor Roosevelt, while Michelle Pfeiffer will star as Betty Ford in the series; with production rumoured to be beginning in May.

This isn't the former FLOTUS' first time being portrayed on-screen – Obama was previously played by Tika Sumpter in 2016's Southside with You. Not to mention she's got a few production projects in the pipeline herself, after she and husband Barack signed a major deal with Netflix to produce TV series, documentaries and films à la Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

And though production is still a few months in the future, VD's preparation for the role is already well under way.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Davis revealed that her research for the role involved reading Obama's book Becoming and watching its accompanying documentary, as well as speaking to the woman herself. No pressure, then.

"Now I am in the place of a little bit of fear. Well, I'm not going to lie, a lot of fear," she said of the role.

The Academy Award-winner is already doing makeup tests for her transformation into Michelle, telling ET, "They are doing an extraordinary job with the transformation of it all."

Now this is one onscreen collab we really can't wait to see.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.