They join previously announced series stars Viola Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer, who will play Michelle Obama and Betty Ford respectively. Variety exclusively reported that Jayme Lawson and Kristine Froseth will play a young Obama and a young Ford.
Formerly known as “First Ladies,” the show is described as a reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. The first season of the series will also explore the life of Eleanor Roosevelt, with that role yet to be cast.
Adlon will appear as Nancy Howe, who was Betty Ford’s trusted confidante and social secretary. The two were inseparable through thick and thin, from facing Betty’s struggle with breast cancer to turning dusty White House traditions upside down.
The role brings Adlon back into the Showtime fold, as she previously starred in the network’s hit series “Californication.” She is best known for her semi-autobiographical FX series “Better Things,” which she created, stars in, and on which she serves as executive producer and showrunner. The show has earned her two Emmy nominations for best actress in a comedy as well as a Golden Globe nomination. She previously won an Emmy for lending her voice to the character Bobby Hill on Fox’s “King of the Hill.”
She is repped by CAA, Felker Toczek, and ID PR.
Wakefield will play Dick Cheney, who served as Chief of Staff to President Gerald R. Ford. The youngest person in U.S. history to serve in that position, Cheney was charged with convincing the American people that Ford’s administration would be a departure from the stain left from Watergate.
An Australian native, Wakefield’s American credits include “Reprisal,” “True Detective,” and the first installment in “The Purge” franchise. He also appeared in more than 300 episodes of the Australian soap opera “Home and Away.”
He is repped by ICM and Grandview.
“The First Lady” is written and executive produced by Aaron Cooley. Davis is also executive producing along with Julius Tennon and Andrew Wang of JuVee Productions. Cathy Schulman of Welle Entertainment executive produces along with Jeff Gaspin via Gaspin Media, and Brad Kaplan of LINK Entertainment. Susanne Bier is attached to direct and executive produce. Showtime and Lionsgate Television will produce.
Deadline first reported Adlon and Wakefield’s castings.