By Denise Petski
July 27, 2021
Lily Rabe is set as a lead in Showtime’s upcoming anthology series The First Lady, starring Viola Davis — who also executive produces — Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson. Cathy Schulman serves as showrunner. Susanne Bier (The Undoing) will direct and executive produce. The role reunites Rabe with Bier, who recently directed the actress in HBO’s The Undoing limited series.
Created by Aaron Cooley and produced by Lionsgate TV and Showtime, The First Lady is 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).
Rabe will play Lorena “Hick” Hickock, a pioneering American journalist, who by 1932 became America’s best-known female reporter and was a devoted friend and mentor to Eleanor Roosevelt. After 3,000 of their mutual letters were discovered, the nature of the relationship between Hick and Eleanor became the subject of much debate.
Series also stars Kiefer Sutherland as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, O-T Fagbenle as President Barack Obama and Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford.
Produced by Showtime and Lionsgate Television, The First Lady is executive produced by Schulman, Davis, Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Bier, Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan. Cooley will write several of the episodes and executive produce.
Rabe recently wrapped production on the film The Tender Bar, in which she stars alongside Ben Affleck. Next up, Rabe stars in the 10th season of American Horror Story – the ninth season that Rabe has starred in during the anthology series’ run. In addition to her role as Sylvia Steineitz in The Undoing, Rabe most recently appeared in The Underground Railroad and Tell Me Your Secrets. She’s repped by WME and Mosaic. Cooley is rep CAA, LINK Management, and Rob Szymanski