Viola Davis on taking part in Michelle Obama: There was ‘an enormous quantity of worry’


In a dialog with media on Wednesday, Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis mentioned taking part in former first girl Michelle Obama in Showtime’s upcoming restricted sequence “The First Girl” concerned “an enormous quantity of worry.”

“You do not need to insult them by your portrayal,” she mentioned throughout a panel for the present on the Tv Critics Affiliation press tour.

Obama is one in every of three first girls portrayed within the sequence. It additionally options Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt in roles which can be certain to get awards consideration come Emmy season.

As the one actress taking part in a primary girl who continues to be alive on the present, Davis was requested if she felt further strain understanding Obama may see her work. Davis mentioned not solely does she acknowledge that reality, however “it retains you up at night time.”

That mentioned, Davis added, “that is what we reside for as artists.”

“It is an enormous train in letting go, and it is an enormous train in transformation,” she mentioned. “However, to reply the query: Te-rri-fying.”

As Obama, Davis was challenged with capturing not simply the lady individuals noticed in entrance of the digital camera but additionally placing into the efficiency her essence.

In her experiences assembly Obama, Davis mentioned, she was struck by her “sense of value” and “sense of belonging.”

“[She] appeared like a rooted tree, a rooted oak tree,” she mentioned. “There was nothing about her that felt secondary, that she was the lady behind the person. She completely appeared like an individual who has a way of self.”

Davis added: “Barack does not make her somebody; she was somebody from the second she got here out of her mother’s womb.”

The tales advised on “The First Girl,” from government producers Cathy Schulman (“Crash”) and Susanne Bier (“The Undoing”), span 120 years, however have threads that narratively join the tales.

It premieres April 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

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