Viola Davis is set to play Michelle Obama in a new TV series called First Ladies.
The Oscar-winning actor will also executive produce the Showtime drama that will provide insight into the personal and political lives of first ladies throughout history. The first season will focus on Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford.
Written by novelist Aaron Cooley, the show will be set in the east rather than west wing and will show how many game-changing decisions were made hidden from view. The project is being fast-tracked.
Davis will exec produce with husband Julius Tennon under their company JuVee Productions. Speaking of her ambition for the company with the Guardian last year, she said she hoped it would “shift the pendulum because it’s changing the narrative for people of colour”.
The pair share a friendship having met on multiple occasions. In 2017, Davis paid tribute to Obama on Facebook with a picture of them together and the words: “May you continue to shine your light and impact future generations to come”.
Davis was most recently seen on the big screen in Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed thriller Widows and continues to star in the small screen drama How to Get Away with Murder. She is currently filming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with Chadwick Boseman and is set to take on the role of Shirley Chisholm in an Amazon biopic of the first woman and first person of colour to run for president.
The Obamas also signed a production deal with Netflix in 2018, announcing a slate earlier this year which includes documentaries and narrative dramas. “Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect, and inspire us all,” Barack Obama said.