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The Internet can’t seem to stop talking about Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in The First Lady. The drama series premiered Sunday (April 17) on Showtime, and Davis’ portrayal — namely her exaggeration of the former first lady’s facial expressions — went viral over the weekend.
The Oscar winner, who also produced the series, opened up about the role in an interview with The Guardian. “Here’s the thing about Michelle Obama, which is very different from me, different from a lot of people: She’s healthy. She’s a healthy human being, because she grew up in an environment where she always felt seen, always felt worthy,” Davis said. “Maybe because I’ve been with a lot of artists in my life, a lot of people who’ve been traumatized, including myself, it’s very interesting to portray someone who literally is healthy.”
Besides Davis as Mrs. Obama, the anthology drama series stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Emmy winner Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt. The First Lady also stars Kiefer Sutherland as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford, Regina Taylor as Mrs. Obama’s mother Marian Shields Robinson, Lily Rabe as Lorena “Hick” Hickok, Jayme Lawson as young Michelle Obama and O-T Fagbenle as President Barack Obama.
Additional guest stars include Judy Greer, Ellen Burstyn, Jackie Earle Haley, Maria Dizzia and Kate Mulgrew.
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