Showtime has announced that Emmy and Golden Globe winner Kiefer Sutherland has signed on to star opposite Gillian Anderson in their forthcoming anthology drama series The First Lady. Sutherland is set to portray the role of former United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who is the only U.S. president to serve for more than two terms from 1933 up until his death in 1945. This marks the 24 vet’s latest television project since starring in last year’s now-canceled The Fugitive series.
In 1905, President Roosevelt married his fifth cousin Eleanor Roosevelt, who will be portrayed by Anderson in the new series. Later on, the couple became the central figures in world events during the first half of the 20th century, eventually building the New Deal Coalition that defined modern liberalism in the U.S. In 1921, Roosevelt contracted polio, and his legs became permanently paralyzed. Unstoppable even after that, FDR is revered as one of the nation’s greatest presidents.
The First Lady is set in the East Wing of the White House, where 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. The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of America’s most iconic First Ladies. The first season will be focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, and Michelle Obama.
The anthology drama will be led by Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Liaisons) as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson (The Crown) as Eleanor Roosevelt along with Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford and O.T. Fagbenle as Barack Obama.
Joining them are Dakota Fanning as Susan Ford, Jayme Lawson as a young Michelle Obama, Kristine Froseth as a young Betty Ford, Judy Greer as Nancy Howe, Rhys Wakefield as Dick Cheney, Regina Taylor as Marian Shields Robinson, Lexi Underwood, as Malia Obama, Aya Cash as Esther Liebowitz, and more.
The First Lady is created and written by Aaron Cooley from an idea that originated with Cathy Schulman, who was inspired by Cooley’s spec script about Lady Bird Johnson. Schulman is executive producing and will also serve as the showrunner. Golden Globe winner Susanne Bier (The Undoing) has also boarded the project to serve as its director and executive producer.
Executive producers are Cooley, Gaspin Media’s Jeff Gaspin, and LINK Entertainment’s Brad Kaplan along with Davis and Julius Tennon through their JuVee Productions banner.