In early 2020 Showtime announced an anthology series about America’s First Ladies with Oscar winner Viola Davis (Fences) on board to play Michelle Obama. Today, the network confirmed three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer (Love Truth, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Dangerous Liasions) has signed on to play Betty Ford.
The anthology series, currently going by the working title The First Lady, will be directed by Emmy Award winner Susanne Bier (The Night Manager). Bier will also executive produce along with Viola Davis, Cathy Schulman, Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Jeff Gaspin, and Brad Kaplan. Author Aaron Cooley (Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court) created the series and will write several episodes. Cooley will also executive produce.
“Michelle Pfeiffer and Susanne Bier have joined the brilliant and incomparable Viola Davis to bring the remarkable stories of these women into urgent, engrossing and long overdue focus,” stated Amy Israel, Executive Vice President, Scripted Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Michelle brings authenticity, vulnerability and complexity to all her roles, and 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.”
Series Description, Courtesy of Showtime:
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 an enlightening intimacy, with season one focusing on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Ford was the First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977. She was active in social policy and set a precedent as a politically active presidential spouse and one of the most candid first ladies in history, commenting on every hot-button issue of the time. She also raised awareness of addiction when she made her long-running battle with alcoholism and substance abuse public.