Gillian Anderson

The First Lady: Gillian Anderson just shared an exciting update from the set of her latest project

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Sex Education’s Gillian Anderson gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the set of The First Lady on Instagram.

Updated 15 August: If you’re yet to give Gillian Anderson’s Instagram a follow, it’s time to get on it. On top of sharing photos of her life (including her adorable dog Stella), the actor also shares behind-the-scenes shots from the sets of her latest projects.

In the past, she’s shared snapshots from the sets of Sex Education, The Crown and The Fall. And now, she’s posted some exciting shots from the set of her latest project, The First Lady, in which she’s set to take on the role of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The trio of photos, which she uploaded to Instagram earlier this weekend, shows Anderson getting her wig fitted, alongside a shot of her trailer with the name ‘Eleanor’ attached to the door, and a quote from Roosevelt herself. And as far as captions go, Anderson wasn’t giving much away either, simply adding a series of three emojis: the US flag, a teapot, and a fire. 

While the new photos don’t give much insight into what we can expect from the new series, it’s exciting to see Anderson on set and getting into character – and we can’t wait to learn more about the series as filming continues.

For now, however, keep reading to check out all the information we have on The First Lady so far, including the two actors who will be heading up the series alongside Anderson. 

What is The First Lady about?

The First Lady is a new three-part anthology series that will look at America’s historic presidencies through a female lens.

As the official synopsis reads: “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 interweaving storylines with an enlightening intimacy, with season one focusing on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Eleanor Roosevelt sat with headphones on at a 1946 UN conference
Eleanor Roosevelt at a UN conference in 1946.

In terms of the events that the series could cover, there are obviously plenty of possibilities. Although many will be familiar with the incredible work Michelle Obama did during her time as First Lady, all three of the women at the heart of the series were trailblazers in their own right.

Roosevelt, for example, was not only the longest-serving First Lady in history (she took on the role from 1933 to 1945), but she was also outspoken on human rights, becoming the first woman to serve as a delegate on the new United Nations General Assembly after her husband’s death. She was also the first First Lady to hold regular press conferences, to which she only invited women reporters, forcing many newspapers to hire women reporters for the first time.

Betty Ford was also a very active figure throughout her husband’s time in office, too. Throughout her time in the spotlight, she spoke out on everything from feminism and equal pay to abortion and gun control, and was known for being very candid – after being diagnosed with malignant breast cancer during a routine exam and undergoing a mastectomy, she spoke out about her experience and raised awareness of an illness that had previously been under-discussed.

Who will star in The First Lady?

Viola Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer will star alongside Anderson in the series, taking on the roles of Michelle Obama and Betty Ford respectively. 

Alongside the three women, Kiefer Sutherland (Designated Survivor) will play President Franklin D. Roosevelt, O.T. Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) will play President Barack Obama, and Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) will play President Gerald Ford.

And the cast doesn’t stop there. Other names joining the cast include Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford, Betty and Gerald’s daughter; Judy Greer as Nancy Howe, Betty Ford’s social secretary and confidant; Lily Rabe as Lorena ‘Hick’ Hickock, a journalist and one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s closest confidantes; Lexi Underwood as Malia Obama, the eldest of Michelle and Barack’s children; and Rhys Wakefield as Dick Cheney, Ford’s Chief of Staff.

And last, but by no means least, Jayme Lawson, Kristine Froseth and Eliza Scanlen will play young Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt respectively. 

Who else is working on The First Lady?

Susanne Bier, who recently directed Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant’s smash hit drama The Undoing and has worked on projects including The Night Manager and Bird Box, is taking on the role of director and executive producer.

Although we don’t yet know much about when we can expect the series to air, it’s safe to say the cast line-up has left us feeling pretty damn excited. We’ll update you with more information when we get it.

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.