Following the recent addition of Kiefer Sutherland as U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Deadline brings word that Oscar-winning vet Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist) has officially signed on for a recurring role in Showtime’s forthcoming anthology series The First Lady. Burstyn will be portraying the role of Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR’s mother who’s fiercely devoted to her only son. She was known to have had a complex and often domineering relationship with daughter-in-law, Eleanor Roosevelt, who will be portrayed by Gillian Anderson in the series.
In addition to the acclaimed actress, Eliza Scanlen (Little Women, Old), and Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy, Mare of Easttown) have also been cast the recurring roles of a young Eleanor Roosevelt, and Anna Roosevelt, respectively.
The First Lady will be led by Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt along with Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford and O.T. Fagbenle as Barack Obama. Joining them are Dakota Fanning, Jayme Lawson, Kristine Froseth, Judy Greer, Rhys Wakefield, Regina Taylor, Lexi Underwood, Aya Cash, and more.
The series 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 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.