'The First Lady': Viola Davis' 'pursed lips' in Michelle Obama portrayal splits internet

'The First Lady': Viola Davis' 'pursed lips' in Michelle Obama portrayal splits internet
Not many on the internet approve of Viola Davis' (L) portrayal of Michelle Obama (R) (Twitter and Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Viola Davis’ portrayal of Michelle Obama for Showtime’s ‘The First Lady’ has become one of the most talked-about things on the internet after its first episode aired on Sunday, April 17. Though people were hoping that the Oscar-winning actress would do justice to the role, there were many who did not seem impressed with Davis’ “constant duck face” to look like the former first lady.

After the episode aired, several took to Twitter to share photos and clips from the drama showing the 56-year-old as Michelle with her lips in the 'kissy' pose as she speaks or sits for pictures. One person remarked, “Why is Viola puckering her face so much to play Michelle, looks like her saliva turned to lemon juice.” Another sarcastically tweeted, “I’m tired of seeing viola doing Michelle 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 I can’t take it anymore omg.” “If Michelle Obama's lip pursing thing was really that prominent it would have been a topic people would never shut up about. That show/movie idk has no excuse for having Viola Davis do that with her mouth im sorry lmao 😅,” a third one added.


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One user pointed out: “Yo son, they extra bogus for making her form her lips like this the entire time. 😂😂😂. Viola would’ve been just fine the way she is without it. Cause in all honesty, this is not even how Michelle lips are 😂😂😂😂.” Another wrote: “The lip thing may have been a bit much at times, but I think Viola Davis nailed this performance, ijs. 🤷🏾‍♀️ #TheFirstLady.”

(L-R) O. T. Fagbenle and Viola Davis attend Showtime's FYC Event and Premiere for "The First Lady" at DGA Theater Complex on April 14, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)






One tweet read: “I sure can't take viola seriously here too.” Sharing their takeaway from the show, another person said: “Ok I've seen it and WELL ... let's just say it isn't bad nor it is good ( even though for me and in my opinion michelle pfeiffer is the one that gives the performance AT LEAST TO ME ) with Viola i cannot warm up to her on portraying michelle obama yet.” An angry user stated: “10th video of Michelle I’ve seen so far and not one pout in sight! Whoever told Viola Davis to do the lips thing is going to hell.” Another frustrated user noted: “The director that made viola Davis do that duck face may need to serve time😭.”



EP/Actor Viola Davis from Showtime’s ‘The First Lady’ attends Deadline Contenders Television at Paramount Studios on April 10, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Deadline Hollywood )





One tweet accused Davis of insulting Michelle: “viola davis is foul for how she did michelle obama. is she supposed to be mocking her? bc that’s what it’s giving  😭.” A second one said, “💯💯Totally respect Viola as an actor; however, this was just sad! I agree with everything you stated; this was too important for all reason you stated & more to be handled is such a callous disrespectful manner! I just wish they had handled it with better care&they did Not!😪.”





First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama participates in a panel discussion at Glamour Hosts "A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education" with First Lady Michelle Obama at The Newseum on October 11, 2016, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour)





Earlier, Davis had shared her fear to play Michelle. In February, she said, “Let me tell you something, not only does the thought [of Michelle Obama watching the show] come to mind, it keeps me up at night.”

In this screengrab, Viola Davis, winner of Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture categories speaks at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Press Conference on March 27, 2021, in Various Cities. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)


She had also mentioned, “You don’t want to insult them by your portrayal… As much as we feel like we know Michelle Obama—and I did everything I could to research—there are those private moments where there’s some level of creative decision-making that you have to take. I don’t know how she lays in bed with Barack or how she disciplines her children. There are small minutiae that I can just take creative license with and hope that I’m not insulting her with it. That’s what you have to navigate as an artist,” before adding: “So yes, there’s a huge amount of fear. Huge. But that’s what we live for as artists. It’s a huge exercise in letting go and in transformation.”

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