Words by: Sentwali Holder
Black American royalty is coming to Showtime’s anthology series, The First Lady and Saniyya Sidney from The Passage and Fast Color will play Sasha Obama opposite Academy Award winner Viola Davis’ Michelle Obama. The other leading ladies for the first season are A-listers Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt. Sidney will also be seen on the big screen this year as tennis superstar Venus Williams, in Warner Bros. biopic, King Richard.
As for the rest of the Obamas, Lexi Underwood is Malia Obama and O-T Fagbenle is Barack Obama. Young Michelle Obama will be played by Jayme Lawson and Julian De Niro will play young Barack Obama. Aaron Eckhart, Rhys Wakefield, Judy Greer, Dakota Fanning, Kristine Froseth, Derek Cecil, Aya Cash, Jake Picking, Cayden Boyd, Marc Hills, Ben Cook, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Thomas E. Sullivan and Patrice Johnson Chevannes.
The official description: In the East Wing of the White House, many of history’s most impactful and world-changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies. This series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women, tracing their journeys to Washington through interweaving storylines with an enlightening intimacy, with season one focusing on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The First Lady is written by Aaron Cooley with Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions, Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment, Gaspin Media and Brad Kaplan producing. Showtime and Lionsgate TV are co-producers. Susanne Bier directs and executive produces. The idea for the series came from Schulman, inspired by a spec script Cooley wrote about Lady Bird Johnson. But all of the source material comes from the public domain.