Viola Davis Addresses 'Stress' of Playing Michelle Obama in 'The First Lady'

The First Lady also stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt

Being the first lady of the United States is the role of a lifetime – just ask Viola Davis!

While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night, the 56-year-old Oscar winner opened up about portraying Michelle Obama in the upcoming political drama The First Lady and the pressure of the part.

"That's crazy how good you are at this... it's not just the voice you have down, it's [also] the walking? It's crazy how much you became Michelle Obama," Jimmy Kimmel complimented his guest.

"And I'm glad it's over!" Davis replied. "I mean, the stress. Because everybody loves Michelle Obama. They know what she sounds like, they know what she looks like. And I'm like, 'I don't want Michelle Obama calling me, cussing me out.' "

viola davis

The actress, who is also producing the 10-episode series, also revealed that she hasn't reached out to Obama, 58, ahead of its Showtime premiere.

For more on Viola Davis, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"I am hiding from Michelle. I'm hiding in my house," Davis joked to Kimmel, 54, when he asked if they had recently been in contact.

Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in THE FIRST LADY

Last year, the Fences star said she spoke with the former first lady after accepting the role of her character in anthology series, and that they instantly clicked.

While appearing virtually on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in March 2021, Davis raved about Obama, telling host Jimmy Fallon that they spoke for "several hours" after she committed to the script.

"And it's terrifying because ... 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," the Suicide Squad star admitted at the time. "It really is."

Viola Davis, Michelle Obama
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images; Jim Bennett/Getty Images

Fallon, 47, agreed with Davis' sentiments, stating that Obama "actually is that cool and that awesome."

The First Lady also stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt.

The series is described as a "revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House."

In an official trailer for the series, released in February, the trio appears separately in a collection of clips depicting the women's time in the White House as their husbands presided as commanders-in-chief.

"The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women and their families, tracing their journeys to Washington, dipping into their pasts and following them beyond the White House into their greatest moments," Showtime said in a statement.

Also appearing in The First Lady is Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford, O-T Fagbenle as former President Barack Obama, Regina Taylor as Mrs. Obama's mother Marian Shields Robinson, and Judy Greer as Nancy Howe.

The First Lady premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

Related Articles