Viola Davis is “scared” she will fail to do Michelle Obama justice when she plays her in a new TV show.
The Widows actress will play former U.S. President Barack Obama’s wife in Showtime drama First Ladies, but has admitted that playing such a major living figure is daunting.
“I’m a little scared… I’ve met Michelle Obama and…exactly what you think she is, she is. She’s awesome,” Viola told Entertainment Tonight. “She’s awesome in every way. She’s smart. She’s confident. She’s articulate. She believes in sisterhood.”
Explaining why she believes Michelle, a trained lawyer who helped her husband win the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, is such an important figure in U.S. political history, the 54-year-old actress added: “I think Michelle Obama really sacrificed a lot being in the White House, being the first lady, but being the first lady of color also, which is…who do you go to to learn that?”
On her fear of failing the former First Lady, Viola explained: “Listen, here’s the thing, you could either fail really big or succeed really big, and I feel this is my succeed very big or fail very big moment.”
Viola also explained that she will be reading Michelle’s best-selling memoir Becoming for research.
Revealing what attracted her to the role, she said: “I’m always intrigued by the first ladies. I’m always intrigued by the person who doesn’t get as much attention as the other person. And I don’t wanna say ‘the women behind the men,’ the women beside the men, what their sacrifices are…their day-to-day.”
The Showtime series will focus on First Ladies’ contribution behind the scenes, with season one featuring the lives of Michelle, Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford.