Gillian Anderson Hops Back Across the Pond to Play Eleanor Roosevelt

Gillian Anderson, taking full advantage of the whole British-American thing. Photo: Magnus Sundholm/Shutterstock

Congratulations to Gillian Anderson’s trophy shelf. The Golden Globe Award winner will portray Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady, in Showtime’s latest anthology. Now that The Crown has her jaw all warmed up, Anderson joins The First Lady (working title) alongside Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. Susanne Bier (The Undoing) will direct and executive-produce. The First Lady aims to reframe American leadership “through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House,” per a release. “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. “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.”

Awards-show voting bodies are gonna lose it over this one. On top of its three accomplished stars, the series also features Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, Judy Greer as Betty Ford’s trusted social secretary, Jayme Lawson as a young Michelle Obama, and Rhys Wakefield as President Ford’s deputy chief of staff, Dick Cheney. No word on who will take on the role of reconstructing Gillian Anderson’s face to look remotely like Eleanor Roosevelt’s. Her body language alone handled her transformation into the formidable Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season of The Crown, for which she earned her sixth Golden Globe nomination earlier this month. Nothing but respect for our world leader.

Gillian Anderson to Play Eleanor Roosevelt in The First Lady