The First Lady Trailer: Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, And Gillian Anderson Transform Into First Ladies

Is there anything Hollywood loves more than a transformational character piece? What could be better than watching otherwise recognizable performers made into entirely new people — famous in their own right — to portray their life story in flashy biopic fashion?! These stories have a penchant for winning Oscars and Emmys, and lately, we can't get enough of rehashing recent events through the lends of these fictional tales. So now, in the same vein of "American Crime Story" and "The Crown" comes Showtime's new anthology series "The First Lady."

As you can probably guess from the title, "The First Lady" dramatizes the life of three former first ladies. Sporting an all-star cast (of course), the series is headlined by powerhouse performer Viola Davis ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom") taking on the role of Michelle Obama, with Michelle Pfeiffer ("French Exit") starring as Betty Ford and Gillian Anderson ("The Crown") as Eleanor Roosevelt. Through interweaving storylines, the 10 episode drama takes us through the journey of each woman as they navigate life in the White House and marriage to the various Presidents of the United States. Prepare for lots of political intrigue, period-accurate clothing, and of course, the real marker of a prestige drama — marriage problems!

The initial casting announcement for "The First Lady" was certainly exciting in terms of talent: Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gillian Anderson are actresses that rarely steer us wrong. Plus, biopics tend to present the perfect opportunity for in-depth character work. Now with the release of the first trailer, we finally get a glimpse of the follow-through — what exactly do these beloved performers look like following their physical transformations? And what can we expect from their emotional journeys? You can see for yourself below.

The First Lady trailer

Expect to see a lot more of these ladies over the next few days, as Showtime has announced a huge rollout for Presidents Day Weekend — involving digital projections near federal landmarks in highly trafficked US travel locations. The marketing campaign, like the series, is planning to put the spotlight on the three First Ladies, recognizing their many lifetime achievements. The trailer hints at how hard-won their legacies were, whether it involved surviving the scrutiny of the public or navigating the egos of the men around them. As Michelle Obama, Viola Davis seems intent on maintaining power over her public image, while Anderson's Roosevelt seizes control over her private life, seemingly involving an affair with Lily Rabe ("American Horror Story") as Lorena "Hick" Hickok.

The series also stars Kiefer Sutherland ("24") as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Aaron Eckhart ("Wander") as President Gerald Ford, O-T Fagbenle ("The Handmaid's Tale") as President Barack Obama, Dakota Fanning ("The Alienist") as Susan Elizabeth Ford, Regina Taylor ("I'll Fly Away") as Michelle Robinson Obama's mother, Marian Shields Robinson, and Jayme Lawson ("The Batman") as Young Michelle Obama. Here's the official synopsis, per Showtime:

THE FIRST LADY is a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. In the government's East Wing, 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. The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women and their families, tracing their journeys to Washington, dipping into their pasts and following them beyond the White House into their greatest moments. Through interweaving storylines so intimate it's as if the White House walls are talking, season one focuses on the enlightening lives of Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"The First Lady" premieres Sunday, April 17, 2022.