‘The First Lady’ Casts Former TV President Kiefer Sutherland as Franklin D. Roosevelt

‘The First Lady’ Casts Former TV President Kiefer Sutherland as Franklin D. Roosevelt

Showtime’s upcoming series The First Lady focuses, unsurprisingly, on the First Ladies who’ve lived in the White House over the years. One of those First Ladies is Eleanor Roosevelt, who will be played by Gillian Anderson (X-Files, The Crown) on the show.

We now also know who will be playing Anderson’s TV husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Showtime announced today that Kiefer Sutherland will be taking on the role and joining the impressive cast. This is not the first time Sutherland has played a United States President on television – he previously starred in the series Designated Survivor.

The First Lady Focuses on Three Ladies

The first season of the series will focus on three of the United States’ First Ladies: Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Obama, and Betty Ford. Sutherland’s casting completes the roster of who will be playing the women and their husbands. In addition to Anderson and Sutherland as the Roosevelts, Viola Davis and O-T Fagbenle will play the Obamas, while Michelle Pfeiffer and Aaron Eckhart will take on the Fords. Dakota Fanning is also on board playing the Fords’ daughter, Susan Elizabeth Ford.

Sutherland’s character, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and held office from 1933 until 1945. Eleanor was his wife and fifth cousin, and the two married in 1905. When FDR was President, Eleanor was actively involved in the great movements of the time, including the end of World War II and the creation of the New Deal, a program that pulled the economy out of the Great Depression and helped millions of unemployed people.

What is The First Lady About?

Based on the cast, it’s clear Showtime is building this up as a prestige drama. The channel’s description of the show further supports that:

The First Lady is a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. 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. 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, with season one focusing on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Three unique, enigmatic women? Enlightening intimacy? Showtime is clearly setting the show up for Emmy nominations.

The description also describes interweaving storylines, which suggests the episodes won’t focus on one Lady. I’m interested in seeing how the show shifts from one woman’s story to another’s. That could easily be confusing, but if the show pulls it off, that’ll just make it more likely to get an Emmy nod or three.

No news yet on when The First Lady will premiere on Showtime.

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