‘First Lady’ Drama Spotlights Roosevelt, Ford, Obama Spouses – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel


The First Lady features three influential women, three acclaimed actors who play them, and a centuries-old history involving wars, a presidential scandal, and the stubborn lines of gender and race in America.

The ambitious drama series on Showtime proved to be an irresistible challenge for Oscar-winning director Susan Beer. While her subjects – Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama – have a “fascinating and captivating” story, the amount is even greater, Beer said of his first biographical project.

“It was interesting to me that this was not a biographical film, focusing on first ladies with different experiences and eras,” in a way that puts the situation of women in the world in perspective, “Beer said in an interview.

The First Lady, debuting at 9pm EDT on Sunday, starring Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford and Viola Davis as Michelle Obama. Davis was the executive producer of the series, as well as showrunner Katie Schulman and Beer.

In their younger iterations, the future first ladies are played by Eliza Scanlen (Roosevelt), Christine Frozet (Ford) and Jamie Lawson (Obama). Presidents _ secondary to their wives in this narrative _ are portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland as Franklin D. Roosevelt; Aaron Eckhart as Gerald Ford; and OT Fagbenle as Barack Obama.

The series looks at both personal and political chapters, but is a historical fiction and does not claim to be a documentary, Shulman said. “We had to imagine what happened between the events and the things that are being written about,” she said during a panel discussion.

Bier said the role of first lady did not exist in her native Denmark. While she was introduced to the women portrayed in the series, she gained new respect for them.

“What was striking to me was the fact that they realized how to move into the White House without actually having a political position, and they became much more influential than one would think,” she said. They did so while managing to play the expected role of America’s “beautiful-looking, successful” first housewife.

Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer “at a time when he was so stigmatized and no one was talking about him,” Beer said. “It obviously saved the lives of many people” and changed attitudes in the United States and other countries.

The First Lady approaches stories like a tapestry, weaving together moments that sometimes show how similar the experience of women is despite the decades that separate them.

They all struggled to be taken seriously as first ladies after spending part or all of their lives in adulthood in support of their husband’s ambitions. Ford and Obama are portrayed as a strong reluctance to make the White House their temporary home _ Ford because she spent so long in the political trenches after giving up her own dreams, Obama because he fears for the safety of her husband as the first black president.

Despite decades, there are striking similarities in the walls that “these three women have run into,” Beer said. “Yes, our society has changed, history has changed. But we still live in a very masculine world, which is the way I find it incredibly important to do (such) a show. ”

Parallels with women are strictly thematic, as their lives do not overlap in the story or series. Beer, who joined after the approach was defined, believes that the rainbow of women’s individual stories is not fully developed in the script.

With the three scenes of the first lady to be shot independently, Beer suggested creating a “cohesive script for everyone.” Even then, changes were made along the way, as Ford, then Obama and Roosevelt were filmed one after the other.

“While we were filming Betty, the scripts for Michelle Obama were rewritten,” she said. “So, in fact, there was never a complete roadmap on how to intertwine stories.”

This was achieved during the editing in London, said Beer, who won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language in 2011 for “Hævnen” (“In a Better World”), received a director’s Emmy for “Night Manager” from 2016 and whose other merits include “The Undoing” and “Birdbox”.

Beer, a “master director” in various genres, was right about the Showtime series, which “goes in and out of comedy, tragedy and everything in between,” said producer Schulman. “In addition, Susanna is an acting director, and the level of detail with which she approaches the characteristics was crucial to the revival of the first ladies.”

The First Lady is conceived as an ongoing anthology series, with the new presidential spouses to be part of future editions. Among the opportunities that Schulman and Beer find intriguing are Dolly Madison, Jacqueline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

“I’m obsessed with Martha Washington right now,” Shulman said during the panel discussion, citing his intrigue over the role of the first lady. “But it will also be so interesting to see if we can come up with a way to make Jackie Kennedy not tell the same old story. … Each of them is so interesting and they become more interesting in combinations. ”

‘First Lady’ Drama Spotlights Roosevelt, Ford, Obama Spouses – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link ‘First Lady’ Drama Spotlights Roosevelt, Ford, Obama Spouses – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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