As we’ve mentioned a time or two this year (regarding the Lucille Ball and Princess Diana biopics), a series or film that tells the story of once-iconic people is going to live or die by its casting. When Showtime announced this anthology series about First Ladies, with Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, we couldn’t help but be intrigued by each of these choices, for different reasons. The first official trailer is out and it sure looks to us like they nailed it – again, for different reasons.
First, we want to say that Michelle Pfeiffer is surprisingly great casting as Betty Ford and we suspect she’ll be very good at capturing her model-wife fragility and surprising spine of steel. She seems tailor-made for the part and she looks remarkably on point. We had some misgivings about Viola Davis, specifically because she knows Michelle Obama, if not well, than in a more than passing sense. But it really looks to us like she captured her blunt but compassionate personality and as two people who covered her extensively for those eight years, it’ll be interesting to see the show tackle her clear and well-coordinated image crafting campaign. Gillian Anderson is going to be good for different reasons. She’s going to be good as Eleanor Roosevelt in the same way she was good (and won awards) playing Margaret Thatcher on The Crown. She looks nothing like her and isn’t much interested in extensive prosthetics or wigs. She’s treating it like an acting exercise, evoking a woman completely different from her physically by using every acting trick she’s mastered in her three-decade career.
There’s not a chance in hell we’re missing a minute of this one. The supporting cast looks great too.
A revelatory reframing of American leadership through the lens of the First Ladies. Starring Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, this series delves deep into the Ladies’ personal and political lives. Exploring 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. Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson. Watch the premiere on Sunday, April 17 on SHOWTIME.
[Photo Credit: Showtime via Tom and Lorenzo – Video Credit: Showtime/YouTube]
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