Now the cabler has handed out a series order, with Davis set to play Obama in the first season. The news arrives as the Oscar-winning actress prepares to say farewell to ABC’s drama “How to Get Away With Murder” in the spring, per THR.
The official synopsis for the series: “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 our most enigmatic heroes…”
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According to CNN, the first season of the series will “peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of these enigmatic women,” according to Showtime, and will revolve around famous First Ladies Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford.
The other two main characters have not yet been cast.
“Throughout our history, presidents’ spouses have wielded remarkable influence, not only on the nation’s leaders but on the country itself,” Jana Winograde, president of entertainment for Showtime networks, said. “‘First Ladies’ fits perfectly within the Showtime wheelhouse of drama and politics, revealing how much personal relationships impact both domestic and global events. Having Viola Davis play Michelle Obama is a dream come true, and we couldn’t be luckier to have her extraordinary talent to help launch this series.”
Davis will executive produce the series with her husband Julius Tennon through their JuVee Productions.
In related news, Davis is among those to applaud actor Joaquin Phoenix for calling out systematic racism in Hollywood during his BAFTA acceptance speech on Sunday.
“I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight. The Baftas have already been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say that I also feel conflicted, because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege,” he said.
“I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from,” Phoenix added.
“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment – although that’s what we give ourselves every year. People just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.
“We have to do really the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.
“I think it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that’s on us.”
Davis, who won a Bafta award in 2017 for her role in “Fences,” thanked Phoenix for his “honesty, solidarity and courage.”