Fans didn’t know how to feel about Viola’s portrayal of Michelle Obama (Picture: Getty)
The Oscar-winning actress, 56, transformed into the attorney, 58, for the Showtime anthology, which tells the story of presidential couples throughout history.
Gillian Anderson (Eleanor Roosevelt) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Betty Ford) also star in the drama, which delves into the achievements and challenges faced by the women throughout their time at the White House from a political and personal point of view.
Although fans raved over the casting choice, Viola’s overly pursed lips and expressive mannerisms left the majority scratching their heads after the first episode.
‘Viola Davis didn’t really need to do that mouth thing… It’s distracting,’ one person tweeted.
Another chimed in writing: ‘There’s no doubt Viola Davis is one of the greatest actors ever – period. But SOMEONE on that show should have realised how badly the intense lip pursing and mouth movements would translate on screen. The affectation just looks ridiculous.’
Michelle was the first African American woman to serve as the First Lady in the White House, from 2009 until 2017, while her husband was President.
The How To Get Away With Murder star admitted she was ‘terrified’ about what Mrs. Obama would think of her portrayal, and said she watched the former US first lady’s documentary Becoming at least 22 times in preparation.
Sharing that she felt the author was ‘very different’ from herself and others because she was ‘healthy’, the Fences actress explained: ‘She’s a healthy human being because she grew up in an environment where she always felt seen, always felt worthy.
Viola’s facial expressions were branded ‘distracting’ by viewers (Picture: Showtime)
‘Maybe because I’ve been with a lot of artists in my life, a lot of people who’ve been traumatised, including myself, it’s very interesting to portray someone who literally is healthy.’
The 10-parter also features Dakota Fanning as Gerald and Betty Ford’s teenage daughter Susan, while Kiefer Sutherland takes on Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Lily Rabe, Ellen Burstyn, Eliza Scanlen, Judy Greer, and Kristine Froseth also have supporting roles.
The first episode of The First Lady is available to stream on Showtime.