Viola Davis Isn’t Loving All The Hate About Her Portrayal Of Michelle Obama In “The First Lady”
I was under the impression that it was a federal law that all media-watching citizens were prohibited from talking even a single ounce of shit about one of Hollywood’s greatest living actresses, Viola Davis. But some people have been cracking jokes and roasting Viola Davis online over her latest role, the 44th First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Viola is currently playing the former FLOTUS in Showtime’s anthology series The First Lady, and if the response on social media is to be believed, then Viola is delivering a fire-your-agent-worthy performance. But if you ask Viola, every one of those haters can keep their jokes to themselves, because she’s working her ass off on screen to portray Ms. Obama, and the criticism serves “no purpose” to her.
The First Lady centers around three former first ladies: Michelle Obama (played by Viola), Eleanor Roosevelt (played by Gillian Anderson), and Betty Ford (played by Michelle Pfeiffer). And based on the trailer, it feels like the kind of prestige awards-baity show that will get a ton of Emmy nominations. Except not to some people on Twitter who have seen the show. Here’s but a sampling of what has happened online since The First Lady premiered on April 17.
I know the muscles in Viola Davis’ face was tired after all this 😂 pic.twitter.com/j7PM4bFvis
— De’Andre (@DreTha_Truth) April 18, 2022
Viola Davis might be going to hell Idk pic.twitter.com/poa2ebOrKc
— Taylor (@LaborWithTaylor) April 17, 2022
michelle watching viola davis make those faces pic.twitter.com/Ab5xEKmLV1
— jamaal (@roseinharlem) April 17, 2022
Others noted that Michelle Obama has been known to purse her lips in such a way and that Viola is just doing this thing called acting, where she attempts to mimic the person she’s portraying. Viola recently spoke to the BBC about The First Lady, as well as all the criticism that has come with it. Viola says that all the backlash has been nothing but an opportunity to be “cruel.” via IndieWire:
“People know how they walk, how they talk and how they hold their pearls, so it’s very difficult,” Davis said of playing Obama. She said that, when it comes to playing Michelle Obama, “either you’re doing too much or not enough.”
“They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know. Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and ‘I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth.’ So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you,” Davis said.
She adds that all the criticism doesn’t matter to her, and she doesn’t mean that in a petty “Screw you all” way. She just means that not everything she does is going to end up with Viola Davis getting a metric tonne of awards nominations dumped on her.
“The thing about critics is they serve absolutely no purpose. And I’m not saying that to be nasty either.”
The “incredibly hurtful” comments have forced Davis to reexamine her turn in the Showtime series, now airing. “How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?,” the Emmy winner added. “But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.
Viola ended by saying that it’s her job as an actor to make bold choices and that sometimes they pay off, and sometimes they don’t. Well, maybe there could have been a moment where restraint and subtlety would have worked better for her. I’m talking specifically about her eyebrows. If Viola could go back in time, maybe she’d have asked the makeup artist for a re-do. “To quote Michelle herself, let’s move…that eyebrow pencil around just a bit more. One harsh line isn’t going to cut it.”