There’s an old proverb that seems especially fitting for America’s presidents: “Behind every great man is a great woman.” Later this year, Showtime‘s The First Lady is throwing the spotlight on three of the great women who left their mark on the White House: Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt. And if the first trailer is any indication, there was a lot of drama behind closed doors.
Viola Davis’ Michelle Obama seems to have most of the scenes in the trailer, both by herself and with her husband, President Barack Obama (O-T Fagbenle). But the trailer also takes the time to introduce the other first ladies who will be featured. Michelle Pfeiffer is set to play Betty Ford opposite Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford. And Gillian Anderson’s Eleanor Roosevelt will contend with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Kiefer Sutherland).
The key thing that unites these first ladies is a desire to be more than just an extension of their husbands. Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt want to create their own legacies regardless of what the press or even their husbands want them to be. While their husbands are supportive to a degree, their desires appear to be a breeding ground for conflict as well.
Dakota Fanning co-stars in the series as Susan Elizabeth Ford, with Regina Taylor as Michelle Robinson, Lily Rabe as Lorena “Hick” Hickok, and Jayme Lawson as a younger Michelle Obama. Judy Greer also appears as Nancy Howe, alongside Ellen Burstyn as Sara Delano Roosevelt, Jackie Earle Haley as Louis McHenry Howe, Maria Dizzia as Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, and Kate Mulgrew as Susan Sher.
It’s unclear how the narrative will be divided between the three main first ladies, but there will be 10 episodes in season 1. The First Lady was created by Cathy Schulman and Susanne Bier, with Bier directing every episode of the first season.
Showtime will premiere the first episode of The First Lady on Sunday, April 17.