Viola Davis Has Been Met With A Ton Of Criticism For Michelle Obama Portrayal, But She Still Hasn’t Heard From Her

Viola Davis Portrayed Michelle Obama In The First Lady

Viola Davis is one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood. The gifted thespian has a number of signature roles across film, television, and stage. She’s scored massive accolades, including an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, and is the only African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.

With that kind of resume, it makes sense that she would bring a level of excitement and buzz to her projects that few other actors can. This is why many were excited to see her step into the role of Michelle Obama for Showtime series The First Lady. Just wrapping its first season, The First Lady stars Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt. Over ten episodes, we explore one of the highest offices on the planet through the lens of these women. The official synopsis says the show “explores everything from their journeys to Washington, family life, and world-changing political contributions, the impact of the White House’s women is no longer hidden from view.” 

When photos first hit the net, many were shocked at how much Viola resembled Michelle. Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun “O-T” Fagbenle plays opposite her as Barak Obama.  Despite all the great buzz leading up to the series, upon its debut, people started picking her portrayal apart. Many criticized her facial choices. In trying to mimic Michelle’s signature smirk, Davis instead looks like she is grimacing most of the time, making the role feel more like a joke or parody. 

Viola Davis Critics Do Not Serve A Purpose

Viola Davis is aware that people have not been very kind when discussing her role as Michelle Obama. However, Davis has developed a thick skin over her decades-long career in the spotlight and believes that sometimes the best thing she can do is ignore what people say. Davis says that getting negative feedback is hurtful, but she understands that she’s not always going to deliver award-worthy performances. She dismisses a lot of critics and believes that these days some people just use that title as a guise to delve out mean and cruel observations instead of real critics. She understands the silver lining of it all and says, “Ultimately, I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail, it is my duty to do that.”

Viola Davis Has Never Spoken To Michelle Obama About Her Portrayal

Viola Davis is avoiding critics but has also managed to avoid Michelle Obama as well. While discussing their process and some of their biggest roles for Variety’s Actors on Actors conversation, Viola Davis and Samuel Jackson briefly discussed The First Lady and if Davis had got any feedback from Michelle. Davis reveals that she had not spoken to Michelle. While she does not give a reason for them not speaking, she admits that acting for her is about “jumping off the cliff,” and you are taking a risk with every role. “No conversations with Michelle. I don’t do it,” she told Jackson. Meaning that even while playing someone living, she tried to create the character on her own and not lean too much into acting the person advice on the role.

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