Rosalind Chao, Michael Potts and Donna Lynne Champlin to spawn – deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Rosalind Chao (The Joy of Luck club), Michael potts (Thread) and Donna Lynne Champlin (crazy ex-girlfriend) are set for recurring roles in Showtime’s upcoming anthology series The first lady (working title), starring Viola Davis – who is also an executive producer – Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson. Cathy Schulman acts as showrunner. Susanne Bier (The defeat) direct and produce executive products.
VScreated by Aaron Cooley and produced by Lionsgate TV and Showtime, The first lady is a revealing reframing of American leadership, told through the prism of the women at the heart of the White House. Season 1 focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt (Anderson), Betty Ford (Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Davis).
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Chao plays Tina Tchen, a brilliant lawyer known for her strategy and her wit, who was Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls.
Potts plays Fraser Robinson III, the father of Michelle Obama.
Champlin is Melissa “Mel” Winter, a Democratic political assistant who was Michelle Obama’s first hire during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and continues to be her trusted chief of staff.
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In addition, Paul Wilson (The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) will be the guest of the series as Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States and the only president to step down, following the Watergate scandal. He was pardoned by Betty Ford’s husband, President Gerald Ford.
The series also stars Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, OT Fagbenle as President Barack Obama, and Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford.
Produced by Showtime and Lionsgate Television, The first lady is produced by Schulman, Davis, Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Bier, Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan. Cooley will write several of the episodes and executive producers.
Known for her role as Rose in The Joy of Luck club, Chao was recently seen in live-action Mulan as good as Together together and Laundromat and will soon be seen in The starling. She is replaced by Buchwald.
Potts is known for his role as Brother Mouzone in Thread. On the cinema side, he was recently seen in Ma Rainey’s black stockings. His other TV credits include True sleuth, here and now, prodigal son, madam secretary, person of interest, show me a hero, gotham, nurse jackie and others. Potts is replaced by Artists & Representatives and Blue Ridge Entertainment.
In addition to playing Paula Proctor on Crazy ex-girlfriend, Champlin has appeared onscreen in projects such as Another period, Feel the Beat, Downsizing, Birdman and Yes, my God, yes. Winner of the Obie Drama Desk and the Gracie Award, Champlin has credits on Broadway that include Sweeney Todd, Billy Elliot: The Musical, that of James Joyce The Dead, by Jeeves and Hollywood weapons. Champlin is replaced by Talent House and Forward Entertainment.
Wilson, who has also appeared in projects including Large stone hole and Good things, is replaced by Lonesome Pine.