Viola Davis is coming for another Emmy! The Oscar winner stars as former First Lady Michelle Obama in the new Showtime anthology series appropriately titled The First Lady, which premieres April 17. Viola does a complete transformation into Mrs. Obama. From posing for her official portrait to getting ready for husband Barack Obama’s first inauguration, the series takes us back to those incredibly memorable moments in Michelle’s life.
“In four years, I don’t want to look back and think, what did I become living in that house?” Michelle asks Barack, played by O-T Fagbenle, in the trailer. At one point, things get a bit tense for Michelle and Barack. POTUS tells FLOTUS that he can’t have her “backseat driving” his presidency. “They want to turn me into a Black Martha Stewart? I will pick my team, choose my causes, understood?” Michelle declares.
Gillian Anderson also undergoes an amazing transformation into former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. “You are the husband of a wife who has a mind and a life of her own,” Eleanor tells FDR, played by Kiefer Sutherland. Michelle Pfeiffer is a force to be reckoned with as former First Lady Betty Ford. “I have done everything I was supposed to do!” Betty screams. After battling alcoholism and drug addiction for years, Betty notably founded the Betty Ford Center.
The cast also includes Aaron Eckhart President Gerald Ford; Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford; Regina Taylor as Michelle’s mother, Marian Shields Robinson; Lily Rabe as Lorena “Hick” Hickok; and Jayme Lawson as young Michelle Obama. Additional guest stars include 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.
The First Lady is a “revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. In the government’s East Wing, 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. The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women and their families, tracing their journeys to Washington, dipping into their pasts, and following them beyond the White House into their greatest moments. Through interweaving storylines so intimate it’s as if the White House walls are talking, season one focuses on the enlightening lives of Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt.”