After portraying Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, Gillian Anderson is yet again set to play a powerful woman in politics, this time as first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Anderson will be joining Viola Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer, who have been cast as Michelle Obama and Betty Ford respectively, for Showtime’s upcoming anthology series about the first ladies who have helped to shape our nation.
Not a lot of information about the series, which has been referred to as both First Ladies and The First Lady, has been released outside of the fact that it will focus on the lives of Roosevelt, Obama and Ford during their times spent in the East Wing, and will touch on both their political influence and the personal challenges they faced as the wives of presidents. We also know that Aaron Eckhart has been cast as Gerald Ford, Jr. and Judy Greer as Betty Ford’s longtime confidante and secretary Nancy Howe, but there’s been no word yet on who will play Barack Obama or Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of FDR, who occupied the Oval Office from 1933 to 1945, making her the longest serving first lady in U.S. history. (Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president a whopping four times, breaking with the two-term tradition set by his predecessors, largely due to the fact that people didn’t want a new president stepping in in the middle of WWII.) She wasn’t one to shy away from controversial conversations and received some flak in her day for being well ahead of her time and speaking out in support of civil rights and advocating for more and better opportunities for women. She was the first first lady to hold regular press conferences and pushed her husband to join the United Nations, later becoming the country’s first UN delegate.
We imagine Anderson will feel very comfortable playing such an outspoken figure after her recent turns as British prime minister Thatcher in The Crown and Jean Milburn, sex therapist and single mom to troubled Otis, in Netflix’s Sex Education. Our only gripe is that the show would probably have to take a sci-fi bent in order for Anderson, Davis and Pfeiffer to all appear in one scene together (seems unlikely), but only time will tell.