By Emma Dooney
Viola Davis has shared her fears about playing Michelle Obama in The First Lady, admitting that she initially panicked when she secured the job.
In an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Viola explained her reasons behind applying for the iconic role, as well as the anxious feelings that followed the acceptance.
“I think it was temporary insanity,” she joked when asked by the veteran TV host why she decided to take on the challenge. “I lost my damn mind for about five minutes and I made a damn decision I can’t take back.”
The Oscar-nominated actor will depict Michelle Obama’s incredible journey from college student to FLOTUS in the upcoming Showtime anthology, which will explore the private lives of the country's most famous First Ladies. According to Variety, the series will focus on the lesser-known 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.'
Viola will be joined by Hollywood heavyweights Gillian Anderson and Michelle Pfeiffer, who have been cast as Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford, respectively.
Despite her initial apprehension, Viola has fully embraced the project and is now working on familiarizing herself with her character. She revealed she has even developed a relationship with Michelle, having spoken to her for ‘several hours’ since landing the role.
“The woman is a goddess,” she gushed. “Everybody knows her. Everybody feels like they want to protect her.”
The Ma Rainey's Black Bottom star went on to praise Michelle for living up to her esteemed reputation in reality. "Sometimes, someone doesn't live up to whatever image you have of them in your head. But when they do live up to the image, it's quite frightening," she said.
It doesn’t look like Viola has anything to be worried about, however. Michelle has already given her stamp of approval to the actor’s portrayal of her, telling Entertainment Weekly that “anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor, and I know she will do no less for this role."
The release date for The First Lady has yet to be confirmed, but with production already underway, it’s likely that the star-studded first season will hit our screens sometime next year.
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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