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Gillian Anderson cast as Eleanor Roosevelt on Showtime’s The First Lady


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Showtime has rounded out its main trio of First Ladies for the upcoming anthology series.

After playing Margaret Thatcher on Netflix’s The Crown season 4, Gillian Anderson will now portray First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of 32nd United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on The First Lady (working title). This begs the question, will we now be getting “hot Roosevelt” memes after Thatcher’s internet love?

Anderson joins Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford.

“Gillian Anderson is an actress of incredible range and exquisite talent — she is the perfect choice to complete this powerhouse trio, who will inhabit the roles of these iconic women,” said Amy Israel, executive vice president of scripted programming at Showtime Networks Inc. “It’s inspiring to have Gillian, Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susanne Bier and Cathy Schulman at the forefront of The First Lady. They have truly set the stage for a landmark Showtime series.”

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Roosevelt was the longest-serving First Lady in U.S. history, having held the role from 1933 to 1945. She was at times considered a controversial figure for her outspokenness on civil rights. She was also the first presidential spouse to hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column, and host a weekly radio show. Among her achievements, she pushed the United States to join and support the United Nations and became its first delegate.

Anderson received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as Thatcher, opposite Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth II, on The Crown. Though, the actress previously won the statuette for her iconic sci-fi performance as Agent Dana Scully on The X-Files.

The first season of The First Lady will focus on the personal and political lives of Obama, Ford, and Roosevelt as a “revelatory reframing of American leadership,” according to an official Showtime plot description. The show promises to trace “their journeys to Washington through an enlightening intimacy.”

The cast also features Aaron Eckhart as Gerald Ford, Jr., Ford’s husband and the 38th president of the United States; Judy Greer as Nancy Howe, Betty Ford’s trusted confidante and social secretary; 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, who directed the four-time Golden Globe-nominated The Undoing, will direct all episodes of season 1. She’ll also executive produce with Davis, Crash Oscar winner Cathy Schulman, Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Jeff Gaspin, and Brad Kaplan. Author Aaron Cooley created the series and will write several episodes and EP, as well.

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