Viola Davis Shares Her Trepidation Over Playing Michelle Obama: "People Love Her"

Viola Davis and Michelle Obama
Rachel Murray/Getty Images; Jim Bennett/Getty Images

The 'How to Get Away With Murder' star dropped by 'The Graham Norton Show' where she opened up about the role. 

Viola Davis is thrilled to be playing Michelle Obama in the upcoming Showtime anthology series First Ladies, but says she had some trepidation.

The How to Get Away With Murder star dropped by The Graham Norton Show for an episode that will air on Dec. 25, where she opened up about playing the former first lady.

"People love Michelle Obama," Davis told Norton. "They feel like they know her, they own her  — and they do not want anything that is negative to touch her."

As an actress, Davis said she delights in looking for the "mess" when it comes to playing a character, so she knew it would be a challenge. "How am I going to do that with Michelle Obama?" she asked, laughing.

Davis said the former first lady gave her blessing for the project role. "Listen, everything you think, feel, see with Michelle Obama is all that she is," Davis said. "We know that. But I always say, 'You can talk to my husband, you can talk to my daughter, you can talk to my mom about me' — if someone were going to play me in a biopic — 'but you would still only know 40 or 50 percent of me.'"

She continued, "You're not going to know some deep, dark secret that I don't even share with the people who are closest to me. And it's all that info that you gather as an actor to create another human being," she said, jokingly adding, "So, now I got Michelle Obama — What do I do with that?"