Derek Cecil is heading back to the White House after playing Seth Grayson on Netflix‘s House of Cards, as he has been cast as Donald Rumsfeld in Showtime‘s upcoming anthology series The First Lady.
The series is described as a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. The first season of the show aims to peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of a trio of unique, inspiring women who did our country proud in serving as First Lady — Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama, who will be played by Emmy winner Gillian Anderson, Golden Globe winner Michelle Pfeiffer and Oscar winner Viola Davis, respectively.
Cecil will recur on the series as a much younger Rumsfeld, back when the former congressman first served as Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford, who will be played by Aaron Eckhart. Meanwhile, Dakota Fanning will play the Fords’ only daughter, Susan Elizabeth Ford.
The First Lady — which is apparently just a working title — will co-star O-T Fagbenle (Black Widow) as Barack Obama, while Lexi Underwood (Little Fires Everywhere) joined the cast earlier this week as Malia Obama. Additional guest stars include Judy Greer as Betty Ford’s trusted confidante and social secretary Nancy Howe; Jayme Lawson (The Batman) as young Michelle Obama; Kristine Froseth as young Betty Ford; and Rhys Wakefield as Dick Cheney.
Showtime and Lionsgate Television will produce The First Lady, which Susanne Bier (The Night Manager) is attached to direct and executive produce alongside creator Aaron Cooley, as well as Cathy Schulman of Welle Entertainment, Jeff Gaspin of Gaspin Media and Brad Kaplan of LINK Entertainment. Davis will also executive produce the series along with Julius Tennon and Andrew Wang of JuVee Productions.
Cecil is a classically trained theater actor who made a name for himself on TV shows such as The Beat, Pasadena and Push, Nevada, though his more recent TV credits include HBO‘s The Outsider and Treme, Cinemax‘s Banshee, and Showtime‘s own Black Monday. He earned a pair of SAG Award nominations as part of the stacked House of Cards ensemble, and his feature credits include Paul Haggis‘ thriller The Next Three Days, Jennifer Westfeldt‘s comedy Friends with Kids, and the John Lithgow–Blythe Danner indie The Tomorrow Man, which premiered at Sundance in 2019. Cecil is represented by APA and One Entertainment.