Gillian Anderson set to play Eleanor Roosevelt in new series ‘The First Lady’

The actress will star alongside Viola Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer

Gillian Anderson has been cast as Eleanor Roosevelt in new Showtime series The First Lady.

Anderson, who recently portrayed Margaret Thatcher in Netflix‘s The Crown, is set to star alongside Viola Davis (Michelle Obama) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Betty Ford), with Susanne Bier (The Undoing) on board to direct and executive produce.

The First Lady aims to reframe US politics “through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House,” according to a press 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.”

Sex Education Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson in ‘Sex Education’ season two. CREDIT: Netflix

All three stars of the show, along with Bier, are currently nominated for Golden Globe awards: Anderson for The Crown, Pfeiffer for French Exit, Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Bier for HBO’s The Undoing.

Last year, Anderson admitted that the first time she read the script for Netflix’s Sex Education, she “kind of put it in the bin”.


The actor plays Dr Jean Milburn on the show, a sex therapist and the mother of awkward teenager Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield).

In an interview with The One Show to celebrate the release of season two, Anderson shared her initial reactions. “I’m not really sure whether I thought ahead,” she said. “When I first read it, I had not really responded to it. I’d kind of put it in the bin, and my partner suggested I take it out of the bin and look at it a bit more seriously.”

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