Williams, 38, will star as the famed dancer and actress Gwen Verdon in FX's upcoming miniseries, Fosse/Verdon, based on the relationship between director and choreographer Bob Fosse and his wife. According to Williams, preparing for the role wasn't easy.
"To have... a little bit of vocabulary that I knew [in dance] has been helpful, but this is a next-level degree of difficulty," she told reporters at FX' Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. "I danced a little as a kid, but nothing to write home about. And then all of a sudden, [dancing in roles] just keeps coming up for me."
"It’s a place I’ve found an unexpected amount of joy, so I keep wanting to return to it," Williams explained.
Sam Rockwell, who plays Fosse in the series, said that he was in a "whole other realm."
“So you think you can dance?” Rockwell cracked. “As we were learning this physical vocabulary, we were taken to task a little bit. Michelle and I can hook, we’re movers… but this is a whole other realm."
It wasn't just the dancing that Rockwell and Williams found challenging. The actors, who also serve as executive producers on the project, spent hours in the makeup chair -- and months crafting undeniable chemistry.
“They’re like twin souls, the male/female representation of this,” Williams said of Fosse and Verdon, who were married from 1960 until Fosse's death in 1987. (Verdon died in 2000.) “Light and dark, that’s always shaping each other and chasing each other.”
“They’re Siamese twins in a way, emotionally,” Rockwell added. "[Preparing for this show] definitely taxes every element of our beings.”
“It’s the toughest part, but also the most rewarding aspect... to be called upon [to execute every level of your craft]," Williams chimed in.
Fosse/Verdon marks Williams' first lead role in a TV series since her six seasons playing Jen Lindley on Dawson's Creek. In the nearly 20 years since, she's gone on to achieve a great film career. She's also become a mother, which allowed her to relate in new ways to playing Verdon.
"There’s this big gap in [Verdon's] career, which was intentional because she wanted to stay home and be a mother and be present for [her daughter] Nicole, which is something we all struggle with as working mothers. Something’s going to suffer, what’s it going to be?" Williams said on Monday. "It’s a very complicated dilemma."
"But the other thing she faced in her career… as a dancer, there comes a point when you can’t do what you used to be able to do. As an actress, my path, hopefully, will be different from that," she expressed.
Fosse/Verdon premieres April 9 on FX. See more on Williams in the video below.