Gillian Anderson is moving from playing one historical figure to another.
The X-Files star, who recently earned her sixth career Golden Globe nomination for her work as Margaret Thatcher on Netflix’s acclaimed costume drama The Crown, will soon suit up to play Eleanor Roosevelt in The First Lady (working title), a new series coming to Showtime that already has Viola Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer on board to star. The show is described as “a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House.”
Anderson, who already has Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild trophies on her shelf, will play Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady in the history of the United States. While women have often been brushed aside during the recounting of the history of this nation, Eleanor Roosevelt has become one of the (depressingly few) female figures who is regularly highlighted in schools and lauded for her contributions. A press release describes her as “controversial for her outspokenness, particularly on civil rights, she was the first presidential spouse to hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column and host a weekly radio show. She also pushed the United States to join and support the United Nations and became its first delegate.”
Viola Davis will play Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer will play Betty Ford in The First Lady, which pulls the curtain back on some of the under-valued contributions made by the women behind some of our nation’s Presidents:
In the East Wing of the White House, 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. This series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women, tracing their journeys to Washington through interweaving storylines with an enlightening intimacy, with season one focusing on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt. The series also stars Aaron Eckhart (Wander) as President Gerald Ford. Additional guest stars include Judy Greer as Betty Ford’s trusted confidante and social secretary Nancy Howe, Jayme Lawson as young Michelle Obama, Kristine Forseth as young Betty Ford, and Rhys Wakefield as President Ford’s Deputy Chief of Staff Dick Cheney.
Susanne Bier (Bird Box, The Undoing) is directing and executive producing the show, and Davis is also executive producing alongside Cathy Schulman (Crash), Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Jeff Gaspin (Rhythm + Flow), Brad Kaplan (Mr. Church), and creator Aaron Cooley (Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court), who will write multiple episodes of the show.