The new series Graves is about a former two-term president (Nick Nolte) who was both beloved and detested. He is now realizing some of the mistakes he made in the Oval Office and is trying to rectify them to his own satisfaction.
Sela Ward plays Margaret Graves, the former first lady who has held her family together and been the foundation on which the legacy of the Graves firmly rests. But now it could be her time. She is approached to run for the senate. Ward told the media she is hopeful her character inspires people, and women especially, to follow their passions.
“I think for Margaret, for me, one of the great things about playing a role like this for women in general is that women really subjugate their passions, their secret desires, their un-lived lives for their children, their family, their husband, behind the scenes, and Margaret is getting to live her un-lived life, her second spring, and I think that will resonate with a lot of women because we’re all living to our 80s on the average, mid-80s, and you really have to look at your life and go, ‘We’re getting an entire second adulthood, and what are you going to do with that? What are you going to do with the rest of your life?’
After the kids are grown, women often find themselves floundering. Yet, her character, albeit still holding the foundation for the family, has a chance to do something important all by herself. She has been the rock behind her husband. Now it could be his turn to be her rock. It’s her time.
“You have this time, and in Margaret’s case she’s getting to live her secret passion and dream, and we all should do that across the board. I think it resonates with the deep theme, particularly for woman.” Middle age does not necessarily mean retiring from our dreams. These days it can be the second part of our lives.
When asked which first lady she thought about when forming her character for this show, Ward stated, “Not one specific one. I’ve thought a lot about that, and I think she embodies another very real composite of the adoring Nancy Reagan, who would finish her husband’s sentences; Lady Bird Johnson, who would, in that Southern way, mop up for everything LBJ would do in his cantankerous way, right? And then you’ve got Jackie Kennedy’s sort of grace and class. And you’ve got Michelle Obama’s strength.”
“Graves” premiers October 16 on EPIX.