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Gillian Anderson to play Eleanor Roosevelt in series on first ladies

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Actor Gillian Anderson has been cast to play Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an upcoming Showtime series on the first ladies.

“The First Lady,” the working title for the hourlong drama, is a “revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House,” according to an official Showtime plot description. 

“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.  

Anderson has previously portrayed real-life figures; she received critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination earlier this month for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

Roosevelt, the longest-serving first lady in U.S. history, was known for her outspokenness and dynamic presence in American politics during her husband’s time in office between 1933 and 1945. Showtime pointed out how she was the first presidential spouse to hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column and host a weekly radio show.

The first season of the show will also feature Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford.

“In the East Wing of the White House, 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,” Showtime said in a statement. “This series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of three unique, enigmatic women, tracing their journeys to Washington through interweaving storylines with an enlightening intimacy.”

Tags 2021 Golden Globes Betty Ford Eleanor Roosevelt Gillian Anderson Margaret Thatcher Michelle Obama Michelle Pfeiffer Netflix Showtime The Crown The First Lady Viola Davis

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