Viola Davis set to play former First Lady Michelle Obama in a one-hour series titled First Ladies that is in development at Showtime, the network announced Monday.
Per Showtime, which is producing with Lionsgate Television, First Ladies will turn it lens on “the East Wing of the White House, where 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.”
Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford will serve as the focus of the first season, and Showtime has ordered three scripts from novelist Aaron Cooley, who will be tasked with pulling back the curtain on he personal and political lives of various First Ladies in history.
Cooley will executive produce alongside Davis and her partner Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions, Cathy Schulman of Welle Entertainment, Jeff Gaspin of Gaspin Media and Brad Kaplan of LINK Entertainment.
Michelle and Barack Obama recently launched Higher Ground Productions at Netflix, which released Barry, the 2016 indie film about Barack Obama that did not feature Michelle as a character. Michelle was played by Tika Sumpter in Southside With You, which came out the same year, but she has never been portrayed by anyone on television before. Davis is a great fit for the part, as she’s an Oscar-winning actress who carries herself with grace and dignity, just as Michelle Obama did in serving our country.
Davis stars in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder and is coming off of a strong turn in Steve McQueen‘s Widows. She also stars in Amazon’s family comedy Troop Zero from Beasts of the Southern Wild co-write Lucy Alibar, and is preparing to star in the Suicide Squad sequel from James Gunn. Davis will soon be seen opposite Chadwick Boseman in the Netflix drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which hails from producer Denzel Washington. She’s represented by CAA and the Lasher Group.