Viola Davis Is Excited to Play "Goddess" Michelle Obama in New Series

Viola Davis explained to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show why she felt like she "lost her mind" when deciding to play Michelle Obama in the Showtime series First Ladies.

By Kaitlin Reilly Mar 27, 2021 5:58 PMTags
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Viola Davis credits "temporary insanity" with taking on the role of this former First Lady.

In a March 26 episode of The Tonight Show, the How to Get Away With Murder alum shared what was going through her mind when she accepted the role of Michelle Obama in Showtime's upcoming series First Ladies, which chronicles the lives of some of the most iconic women of the White House. 

"I lost my damn mind for about five minutes, and I made a decision I can't take back," Viola explained to host Jimmy Fallon. "The woman is a damn goddess. Everybody knows her, everybody feels like they want to protect her. Here's the thing: I'm just going to do the best I can."

When asked if she's spoken to Michelle since her casting, the Oscar winner confirmed that she has. 

"I have for several hours," the actress confirmed. "And it's terrifying. Here's the thing. 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."

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The Ma Rainey's Black Bottom star added, "She's that cool." 


Viola isn't the only star confirmed to be portraying an American icon in the upcoming First LadiesGillian Anderson recently signed on to portray Eleanor Roosevelt, while Michelle Pfeiffer is slated to star as Betty Ford

"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," said a statement from Showtime about the show. "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."

While no premiere date for First Ladies has been set, fans can see more of Viola in the Oscar-nominated Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, as well as the upcoming The Suicide Squad, which just released a new trailer