Michelle Pfeiffer to play Betty Ford in ‘The First Lady’ opposite Viola Davis

Michelle Pfeiffer, a three-time Oscar nominee, is donning some iconic shoes. Showtime announced Thursday that the 62-year-old actress will play Betty Ford in its upcoming anthology series. The First Lady.

Ford, who served as first lady from 1974 to 1977, set a precedent as a politically active presidential wife through her sincere nature and work in social policy. She frequently commented on hot topics and was open about her long battle with alcoholism and substance abuse. Ford also founded The Betty Ford Center, a non-profit residential treatment center in Rancho Mirage, California, for those struggling with substance dependence. She died in 2011, almost five years after her husband, President Gerald Ford.

The network describes the series, which will be directed and produced by Susanne Bier, as “a revealing rethinking of American leadership, told through the lens of women at the heart of the White House.”

“In the east wing of the White House, many of the most shocking and world-changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by the charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies of the United States,” says the network. “This series will open the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique and enigmatic women, who trace their travels to Washington through a revealing intimacy.”

In addition to Pfeiffer as Ford, Oscar winner Viola Davis will play former first lady Michelle Obama. The first season will also focus on Eleanor Roosevelt, but the actress has yet to be announced for that role.

“Michelle Pfeiffer and Susanne Bier have teamed up with the brilliant and incomparable Viola Davis to bring the remarkable stories of these women into an urgent, fascinating and long-awaited focus,” said Amy Israel, Executive Vice President of Scripted Programming, Showtime .

“Michelle brings authenticity, vulnerability and complexity to all her roles, and Susanne is a visionary director who dominates the screen with fierce honesty and a unique visual style,” continued Israel. “With these formidable artists in front of and behind the camera, we could not be more excited, especially at this unique moment in time for our nation, by the powerful promise of The First Lady. “

When ET spoke to Davis about her role on the project, which she also executive produces, the 55-year-old actress admitted that she is “a little scared” to play Michelle Obama, whom she described as “amazing in every way.”

“She’s smart. She’s confident. She’s articulate. She believes in brotherhood,” Davis said of Barack Obama’s wife. “… I want to honor her. I want to honor her with this portrait because that is what drama is. That is what we do as actors, we want to honor the human being. We don’t want to give a portrait that is not easy for people to swallow.” .

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