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Michelle Obama speaks out about Viola Davis playing her in upcoming TV biopic

The Oscar-winning actress will play Michelle in The First Ladies

michelle obama
Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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Michelle Obama has revealed her delight that Viola Davis is set to play her in Showtime's new anthology series, The First Ladies.

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The drama, which began filming last month, is set to retell the story of American leadership through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House, and will also see Michelle Pfeiffer take on Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson play Eleanor Roosevelt.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the former First Lady gushed about the award-winning actress, calling her "the greatest".

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"I feel that I'm not worthy. I wish I could be better to live up to the character that Viola has to play, but it's exciting," she said.

"Anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor, and I know she will do no less for this role," she added about the actress, who this week received an Oscar nomination for her role in the Netflix film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

viola davis© Photo: Getty Images

Michelle is thrilled to have Viola play her in the drama

Viola herself admitted she was feeling "a little scared" about taking on the role back in 2019 when the project was first announced. 

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"She's smart. She's confident. She's articulate. She believes in sisterhood," she said. "I wanna honor her. I wanna honor her with this portrayal because that's what drama is. That's what we do as actors, we want to honor the human being. We don't want to give a portrayal that isn't easy for people to swallow." 

o t Fagbenle© Photo: Getty Images

O-T Fagbenle will star opposite as Barack

Starring opposite Viola as President Barack Obama is British actor O-T Fagbenle, best known for his role of Luke in The Handmaid's Tale. Little Fires Everywhere breakout star Lexi Underwood has also joined the cast, playing Michella and Barack's eldest daughter, Malia. It is not known who will portray the couple's younger daughter, Sasha.

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The official synopsis for the anthology series reads: "In the East Wing of the White House, 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. 

"This series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of these enigmatic women, with season one focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama."

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