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The First Lady - What We Know So Far

There are a whole lot of shows and movies out there about American presidents — from 2008's "Frost/Nixon" to 2012's "Lincoln" and so on — but very few (if any) centered on any of the First Ladies of the United States. With the upcoming Showtime anthology series, "The First Lady," that's about to change.

Created by Aaron Cooley, the series (which originally was tentatively titled "First Ladies") received a series order from Showtime in February of 2020, with Viola Davis attached to produce and star (via Deadline). In what will be just his second screenwriting credit, Cooley is writing the series, but as reported by Deadline, has also written several novels, including "Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court" and "The Guns of Ridgewood." Davis is producing with Julius Tennon via their company, JuVee Productions, alongside Welle Entertainment's Cathy Schulman, Gaspin Media's Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan. Showtime and Lionsgate TV are also co-producing.

Jana Winograde, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks said in a statement, "Throughout our history, presidents' spouses have wielded remarkable influence, not only on the nation's leaders but on the country itself. [The First Lady] fits perfectly within the Showtime wheelhouse of drama and politics, revealing how much personal relationships impact both domestic and global events."

Here's what else we know so far about "The First Lady."

When will The First Lady be released?

As of now, there is no official release date announced for "The First Lady," with the Showtime site for the series merely saying that it is "coming soon." However, IMDB does have it listed as beginning in 2022, which at least tells us that we'll start seeing episodes next year. Additionally, we know that filming began in Covington, Georgia in February of this year, as reported by The Covington News.

We do know that those working behind the scenes are excited about the project in progress. When Susanne Bier — an established director who has helmed the likes of 2020's "The Undoing" and 2016's "The Night Manager" — signed on to direct and executive produce the series, Amy Israel, the EVP of Scripted Programming at Showtime Networks, released a statement about her expectations for "The First Lady." Her statement reads, "Susanne is a visionary director who commands the screen with fierce honesty and a singular visual style. With these formidable artists in front of and behind the camera, we couldn't be more thrilled -– especially at this unique moment in time for our nation –- about the powerful promise of The First Lady" (via Deadline).

If Israel's enthusiasm is anything to go off of, then it seems "The First Lady" will be worth the wait for eager TV viewers. In the meantime, those interested have a slew of casting announcements to read about and tide them over until the series eventually premieres next year.

Who will be in The First Lady?

The first actor involved was Viola Davis, who is set to play Michelle Obama. Davis's most recent projects include 2021's "The Suicide Squad" and 2020's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," the latter which earned her an Oscar nod. Playing opposite Davis as former president Barack Obama is O-T Fagbenle. Fagbenle is most known for his role in "The Handmaid's Tale" and also recently appeared in "Black Widow" this year.

In January of this year, Michelle Pfeiffer joined the project as Betty Ford (via Deadline). Veteran actor Pfeiffer has most recently appeared in 2020's "French Exit" and 2018's "Ant-Man and the Wasp." Pfeiffer will be acting opposite Aaron Eckhart, who will be portraying former president Gerald Ford. Eckhart's recent projects include 2020's "Wander" and 2019's "Line of Duty." Rounding the First Lady roles is Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, as reported by Deadline. Anderson recently won an Emmy for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of "The Crown" (per Entertainment Weekly). Kiefer Sutherland will act opposite Anderson as former president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Sutherland has most recently acted in drama shows "The Fugitive" and another American presidency storyline, "Designated Survivor."

Other cast members include Dakota Fanning ("The Alienist") as Susan Ford, Judy Greer ("Hollywood Kills") as Betty Ford's confidante Nancy Howe, Regina Taylor ("Lovecraft Country") as Michelle Obama's Marian Shields Robinson and Lily Rabe ("American Horror Story") as journalist Lorena Hickok. Finally the three actors playing younger versions of the First Ladies are Jayme Lawson ("Farewell Amor") as young Michelle, Kristine Froseth ("Looking For Alaska") as young Betty and Eliza Scanlen ("Old," "Little Women") as young Eleanor.

What will The First Lady be about?

According to the official Showtime site for the series, "The First Lady" will focus on "America's charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies." The episodes 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."

As reported by Deadline, producer Cathy Schulman first had the idea for the series after reading a spec script by creator Aaron Cooley about Lady Bird Johnson. The series is a perfect fit for Schulma's producing company, Welle Entertainment, as they aim to illuminate women's stories and perspectives. In turn, the upcoming series will "look at American history presidencies through a female lens — the first ladies."

Considering that all the leading roles have younger actors also portraying them, we can definitely expect these storylines to span decades and give us a look into the first ladies' — and their husbands' — younger years. We can also likely expect to see some of the most notable moments in American history through a new lens via the women's perspectives. Plus, there's bound to be some intermarital drama between each President and First Lady, considering the intense scrutiny and professional pressure that these roles involve.

We'll know about the plot whenever we receive a trailer for the series. Until then, we'll just have to keep ourselves occupied by speculating. No matter what, we can't wait to eventually see "The First Lady" play out on TV.