This combination photo shows actress Viola Davis at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in New York on Nov. 12, 2018, left, and former first lady Michelle Obama on NBC's "Today" show in New York on Oct. 11, 2018. Picture: AP

 Viola Davis is set to portray Michelle Obama in a Showtime series under development about America's first ladies.

Davis also is an executive producer on the project, which Showtime said Monday will "peel back the curtain" on the lives of presidential spouses.

The first season will focus on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Obama.

Showtime said it's committed to three scripts for the proposed series. There is no air date since the series has yet to be greenlighted.

Honoured to be a part of the project, Davis tweeted: "Proud to spotlight these brave, extraordinary women! #FirstLadies."  

Davis was most recently seen on the big screen in Steve McQueen's critically acclaimed thriller "Widows". 

"Widows" is billed as a heist movie, but its showcase of female strength and initiative seems to speak directly to the reinvigorated movement for female empowerment.

The film, set in Chicago and starring Oscar winner Viola Davis, follows four women left in debt by their criminal husbands who decide to turn to robbery to get back on their feet.

It chronicles their journey from wives who were primarily supported by their husbands but who overcome the trauma from past abuse and neglect to develop creative ways to survive.

"It wasn't any gimmickry heist movie. It was women empowering themselves in their lives and confronting each other and having to work together," Davis said at the Toronto Film Festival where "Widows" had its world premiere.

Former President Barack Obama and his wife launched their own production company in 2018, and have announced deals with Netflix and Spotify.