Viola Davis stars as Michelle Obama in first trailer for ‘The First Lady’ series

The actress and her husband, JuVee Productions head Julius Tennon, serve as executive producers for the hotly anticipated Showtime series.

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Showtime has dropped the first trailer for the hotly anticipated anthology series The First Lady, starring Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt

Davis and her husband, JuVee Productions head Julius Tennon, serve as executive producers alongside series creator and author Aaron Cooley (Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court), Variety reports. Season One was directed by Oscar and Emmy winner Susanne Bier (The Undoing).

Showtime describes the 10-episode series as follows: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.”

In the two-minute trailer, First Lady Obama tells her husband, “In four years, I don’t want to look back and think, ‘What did I become living in that house?’” 

In another scene, President Barack Obama makes clear that he doesn’t want his wife “back-seat driving.” 

As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Oscar and Emmy Award-winning Davis read Obama’s 2018 memoir Becoming and watched her 2020 Netflix documentary to perfect her gestures. She also spoke with America’s first Black first lady before signing on to the anthology series. 

“I feel very protective of Michelle,” said Davis. “It’s our job as actors not to judge whoever we are portraying, but I ended up thinking she’s just dope.”

Per Shadow and Act, the series also stars Kiefer Sutherland as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford, Regina Taylor as Obama’s mother, Marian Shields Robinson, Lily Rabe as Lorena “Hick” Hickok, and Jayme Lawson as Young Michelle Obama.

Other guest stars include O-T Fagbenle as President Obama, Judy Greer as Nancy Howe, Ellen Burstyn as Sara Delano Roosevelt, Jackie Earle Haley as Louis McHenry Howe, Maria Dizzia as Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, and Kate Mulgrew as Susan Sher.

Executive producers also include Andrew Wang, Pavlina Hatoupis, Alyson Feltes, Jeff Gaspin via Gaspin Media and Brad Kaplan via Link Entertainment, per the report.

In 2020, the former president expressed his approval for rapper Drake to play him in a biopic. 

Obama told the Complex column 360 With Speedy Morman, “I will say this, Drake seems to be able to do anything he wants. I mean, that is a talented, talented brother. So, if the time comes and he’s ready…”

“Drake has, more importantly, I think, my household’s stamp of approval,” he continued. “I suspect Malia and Sasha would be just fine with it.”

The First Lady premieres Sunday, April 17, on Showtime.

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