It’s never easy to portray a living legend on screen, and Oscar winner Viola Davis knows that all too well.
In fact, she said that when she first met with Michelle Obama, who she’s playing in the upcoming anthology series, The First Lady, it was “terrifying”.
Davis appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon recently to chat about the role, and what it was like speaking to Obama.
“Sometimes someone doesn’t live up to whatever image you have in your head,” Davis said. “But when they do live up to the image, it’s quite frightening.”
The First Lady will explore the personal and political lives of some of America’s first ladies, with Season 1 focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford in addition to Obama.
But while Davis may feel intimidated by the real-life woman behind the role, it turns out Obama feels the same way.
She told Entertainment Tonight that she was thrilled by the casting news.
“I feel that I’m not worthy,” the Becoming author told the outlet. “I wish I could be better to live up to the character that Viola has to play, but it’s exciting.”
“Anything Viola does, she does it with passion and vigor, and I know she will do no less for this role,” added Obama, whose husband Barack Obama will be played by O-T Fagbenle in the series.
While chatting with Fallon, Davis continued to speak about how monumental the role is –– although she’s questioning her choice to take it on.
“I lost my damn mind for about five minutes and made a damn decision that I can’t take back,” she joked.
“Because [Michelle] is a goddess. And everybody knows her, everybody feels like they want to protect her.”
But, as Davis noted, she is just going to approach the role like she would any other and do her best. “Here’s the thing. I’m just gonna do the best I can,” she added. “That’s what I say to my daughter. I say, ‘Genesis, let me tell you something. Mommy is doing the best she can,’ so that’s it.”
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