Production for Showtime’s The First Lady is underway and series star Viola Davis, who will play former first lady Michelle Obama, explained why she took the part.
During her Friday appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom star said she doesn’t know what came over her when she was offered the role.
“I think it was temporary insanity,” Davis, 55, deadpanned. “I lost my damn mind for about five minutes and made a damn decision that I can’t take back.”
The Oscar-winning actress explained why she had that reaction — it’s because of the intimidating amount of respect she has for Obama.
“The woman is a goddess,” Davis gushed. “Everybody knows her. Everybody feels like they want to protect her.”
As for how the actress hopes to portray the former first lady, says Davis, “I’m just going to do the best I can. That’s what I say to my daughter every morning… ‘Mommy’s doing the best she can."”
The seasoned actress also revealed that she spoke with Obama “for several hours” following the casting announcement.
Despite her heart to heart with the former first lady, Davis admits she finds the role “terrifying.”
“Sometimes, someone doesn’t live up to whatever image you have in your head, but when they do live up to the image, it’s quite frightening,” she reasoned. “She’s that cool.”
Conversely, Obama shared her thoughts about Davis’ casting with Entertainment Tonight, admitting, “I feel that I’m not worthy… I wish I could be better to live up to the character that Viola has to play, but it’s exciting.”
However, Obama, 57, says her image is in very capable hands, adding, “Anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor, and I know she will do no less for this role.”
By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.