Much to President Donald Trump’s likely dismay, James Comey isn’t leaving your television screens just yet: “The Newsroom” actor Jeff Daniels has been tapped to star as the former FBI director in a four-episode miniseries. The show, produced by CBS Studios, will be based on Comey’s bestselling book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”
Comey was fired as FBI director in May 2017 by Trump, who disapproved of the way Comey handled the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails and possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The limited series will probably use these events as the focus, though Comey also served as FBI director for four years under the Obama administration.
Screenwriter Billy Ray described Emmy Award-winning Daniels, who recently portrayed former FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill in Hulu’s “The Looming Tower,” as “perfect” for the part. “We talked backstage after I saw him in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway, and I knew I was looking at the only person who could play Jim Comey,” Ray said in a statement to Variety. “Lucky for me, he said yes.”
Ray also had praise for Brendan Gleeson, who is slated to play Trump in the CBS series.
“It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump,” Ray said of Gleeson, who is well-known for playing Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody in the Harry Potter franchise. “You have to have presence and a singular kind of dynamism. You also have to have the courage and the will to play Trump’s psychology from the inside out.”
The cast also includes “House of Cards” actor Michael Kelly as acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and “A Gifted Man” actress Jennifer Ehle as Comey’s wife, Patrice.
Ray conducted serious background research for the show, travelling to Washington to meet with Comey, his family, FBI agents, prominent journalists and other Washington bigwigs to ensure an accurate portrayal of real-life events.
Trump’s distinctive antics, and those of his administration, have been fodder for parodies and social commentary since he took office, but this series appears to be one of the few dramas that seek to portray a president and his administration while they are still in office. TV’s most formative political shows, such as “House of Cards,” “Scandal” and “Madame Secretary,” have touched on familiar yet fictionalized scenarios, but they have not portrayed real-life players.
CBS Studios has not yet determined whether the series will air on Showtime or CBS Access, but production is planned for November, with an air date to be announced later.
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