By Denise Petski
August 9, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children), Tony nominee Maria Dizzia (Orange Is the New Black) and Jeremy Bobb (The Knick) are set for key recurring roles on 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.
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).
Haley, Dizzia and Bobb will appear in the Eleanor Roosevelt (Anderson) story.
Haley will play Louis McHenry Howe, a former reporter for the New York Herald who spent the majority of his life serving as political advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt (Kiefer Sutherland), culminating in running FDR’s landslide 1932 Presidential victory campaign. Also Eleanor Roosevelt’s dear friend and advisor, Howe encouraged her to break with her predecessors and make the role of First Lady more active and political.
Dizzia will portray Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, Eleanor Roosevelt’s (Anderson) dear friend and social secretary, whose affair with FDR was a turning point in Eleanor’s life.
Bobb will play Theodore Roosevelt, the progressive 26th president of the United States and Eleanor Roosevelt’s uncle. Teddy took an active role in Eleanor’s life and was enamored with her intelligence and strong-mindedness.
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.
Haley earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Ronald James McGorvey in Little Children. He has been shooting The Retirement Plan opposite Nicolas Cage, and his recent film credits include Alita: Battle Angel, Dark Tower and The Birth of a Nation. In television, he most recently starred in The Tick and Narcos: Mexico. Haley is repped by Gersh and LAR Management.