Viola Davis to play Michelle Obama in First Ladies TV series

Viola Davis attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' Troop Zero on Jan 13, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis will play former US first lady Michelle Obama in a new TV series on the Showtime cable network, it was announced on Wednesday (Feb 5).

First Ladies will focus on the wives of US presidents and their lives in the White House, and media reports said Eleanor Roosevelt and Betty Ford would also be portrayed.

"Presidents' spouses have wielded remarkable influence, not only on the nation's leaders but on the country itself," Jana Winograde, president of entertainment for Showtime, said.

Davis, 54, has been nominated three times for Oscars, winning in 2017 for her supporting role in Fences.

She won an Emmy in 2015 for her role in How To Get Away With Murder, the sixth and last season of which will be broadcast this year.

Davis will also be an executive producer of First Ladies, Showtime said.

Obama, 56, won a Grammy last month - the Best Spoken Word Album award for the audiobook of her hugely successful memoir Becoming.

Released in late 2018, the book saw the former first lady slam President Donald Trump for questioning her husband's citizenship and promoting the notion that he was born abroad.

America's first black first lady also dug into her personal life, expounding on issues including a miscarriage, using in-vitro fertilisation to conceive her daughters and marriage counselling.

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