Gillian Anderson To Star As Eleanor Roosevelt In ‘The First Lady’ Showtime Limited Series

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Nellie Andreeva
·3 min read
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Coming off playing a renowned 20th century British political figure, Margaret Thatcher, Gillian Anderson is taking on an American 20th century political icon, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Anderson is set as the co-lead opposite Viola Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer in The First Lady (working title), Showtime’s anthology executive produced by Davis and directed and executive produced by Susanne Bier, from Lionsgate TV and Showtime.

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All three stars of the series, along with Bier, are currently nominated for a Golden Globe, Gillian for her portrayal of Thatcher in Netflix’s The Crown, Pfeiffer for French Exit, Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Bier for HBO’s The Undoing.

This is the second Lionsgate project Anderson has signed on for this month, she was also just tapped to star In the feature White Bird: A Wonder Story.

The First Lady was created by Aaron Cooley. It’s a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. Season 1 focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt (Anderson), Betty Ford (Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Davis).

Co-starring in the series are Aaron Eckhart, Rhys Wakefield, Judy Greer, Jayme Lawson and Kristine Froseth.

2020-21 Showtime Pilots & Series Orders

Cooley and Bier executive produce the series along with Davis, Julius Tennon and Andrew Wang via JuVee Productions, Cathy Schulman via her Welle Entertainment, Jeff Gaspin via Gaspin Media, Brad Kaplan via Link Entertainment.

“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, EVP, Scripted Programming, Showtime Networks. “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.”

Anderson earned her sixth career Golden Globe nomination earlier this month for The Crown. Previously, she won Emmy, Golden Globe and two SAG Awards for her signature role as Dana Scully on The X-Files. She also received Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Bleak House, and won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress thanks to her work in The House of Mirth. She has five career Emmy nominations and earned her seventh SAG Award nomination as well. Her other recent noteworthy credits include Sex Education, All About Eve, American Gods, The Fall and War & Peace. Anderson is repped by Independent Talent Group in the UK and UTA in the US.

Eleanor Roosevelt served as the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, making her the longest serving First Lady in history. She was an American political figure, diplomat and activist. 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.

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