If you watched those James Comey hearings and thought, “They should make a movie about all this,” well, you’re almost getting what you wanted.
CBS Studios is set to begin production in November on a four-hour event miniseries with Emmy Award winner Jeff Daniels cast as the former FBI director. Would James Comey be a household name without Donald Trump? Of course not. The forty-fifth president will be played by Brendan Gleeson in an inspired casting choice.
The series is based on Comey’s own New York Times number one bestseller, A Higher Loyalty. Since its debut, the book has sold over two million copies. It covers Comey’s dealings as the FBI’s seventh director, from the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal to the Trump/Russia investigation.
This won’t be Daniels’s first foray into the FBI and current events. He played New York’s FBI Counterterrorism Center chief John O’Neill in Hulu’s 2018 series, The Looming Tower. Prior to that, he won an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy for The Newsroom in 2013.
As for Gleeson, he’s best known for his roles as Hamish in the 1995 Oscar-winner Braveheart, Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody in the Harry Potter franchise, and playing opposite Colin Farrell in the 2008 darkly comedic thriller, In Bruges, for which he was Golden Globe-nominated. Playing Trump, however, will be a monumental test for the Dublin-born actor. One look at the man and the physical similarities are impossible to miss. We’ll see if he can exchange his Irish brogue for Trump’s particular brand of New York accent (and speech pattern, and body language, and facial expressions).
The show’s Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, the forthcoming Clint Eastwood-directed Richard Jewell), who will also direct, said this of Gleeson’s role:
“It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump. You have to have presence, and a singular kind of dynamism. You also have to have the courage and the will to play Trump’s psychology from the inside out. Oh, and you have to be spectacularly talented and watchable. Not many actors check all those boxes. Brendan does. I’m ecstatic about this.”
Ray is said to have researched this project for more than a year. His intent is to create a fair portrayal of the events that gripped much of the country in recent years. Ray met with Comey, journalists, FBI agents, and other Washington officials in order to craft a responsible script.
On the casting of Daniels as the Comey, Ray had this to say:
“Jeff is so perfect for this part. Great actor, instant integrity, loads of warmth, intelligence, complexity and gravitas. We talked backstage after I saw him in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway, and I knew I was looking at the only person who could play Jim Comey. Lucky for me, he said yes.”
The drama is executive produced by Alex Kurtzman (The Mummy), Shane Salerno (Avatar sequels writer) and Heather Kadin (Star Trek: Picard).
Secret Hideout, The Story Factory and Home Run Productions will produce the miniseries, in association with CBS Television Studios.
An air-date is yet to be announced.