Viola Davis and Michelle Obama: How the Oscar-Winning Actress Transformed into the Former First Lady

Viola Davis is one of the most acclaimed and versatile actresses in Hollywood. She has won an Oscar, an Emmy, and two Tony Awards, and has been nominated for many more. She has played roles ranging from a maid in The Help to a lawyer in How to Get Away with Murder, to a warrior in The Woman King. But perhaps her most challenging and anticipated role is that of Michelle Obama, the former first lady of the United States, in the upcoming Showtime series The First Lady.

The First Lady is a drama that explores the lives and legacies of three influential women who shaped American history: Eleanor Roosevelt (played by Gillian Anderson), Betty Ford (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), and Michelle Obama (played by Viola Davis). The series will focus on their personal and political journeys, as well as their impact on the nation and the world. The show is expected to premiere later this year.

Davis has expressed her admiration and respect for Obama, calling her a “goddess” and a “hero”. She has also revealed some of the challenges and preparations that went into portraying such an iconic and beloved figure. Here are some of the ways that Davis transformed into Obama for The First Lady.

  • She studied Obama’s voice and mannerisms. Davis said that she watched hours of footage of Obama’s speeches, interviews, and appearances to capture her vocal cadence, tone, and accent. She also paid attention to her body language, gestures, and facial expressions. Davis said that she wanted to “honor” Obama’s voice, not imitate it.
  • She wore prosthetics and makeup. Davis said that she wore prosthetics on her nose and ears to resemble Obama’s features. She also wore makeup to match her skin tone and hair color. She said that the process took about two hours every day.
  • She wore custom-made costumes. Davis said that she wore outfits that were inspired by Obama’s fashion choices, such as dresses, suits, coats, and accessories. She said that the costumes helped her feel more confident and elegant as Obama.
  • She worked with a personal trainer. Davis said that she hired a personal trainer to help her get in shape for the role. She said that she wanted to emulate Obama’s fitness and strength, as well as her posture and grace.
  • She read Obama’s memoir. Davis said that she read Obama’s bestselling book Becoming to learn more about her life story, values, and vision. She said that the book gave her insight into Obama’s personality, struggles, and achievements.

Davis has said that playing Obama is a “dream come true” for her, and that she hopes to do justice to her legacy. She has also said that she hopes that the show will inspire and educate viewers about the role and influence of first ladies in American history.

The First Lady is one of the most anticipated shows of 2023, and Viola Davis is one of the reasons why. She has proven herself to be a master of her craft, and a worthy choice to portray Michelle Obama on screen.

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