Following his iconic role as Knuckles McGinty in “nicecore” phenomenon “Paddington 2” (and proving he’s a fan of IndieWire), Brendan Gleeson will flex his acting range by portraying one of the worst individuals on the planet. Gleeson has been cast as sitting president Donald Trump in a CBS adaptation of James Comey’s bestselling book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” Jeff Daniels — hot off an acclaimed turn of his own in Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” — will play the author, attorney, and former FBI director.
Billy Ray, the writer-director behind “Shattered Glass,” “Breach,” and, most recently, the canceled Amazon drama “The Last Tycoon,” will write and direct the four-part limited series. The rest of the cast includes Michael Kelly as Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Jennifer Ehle playing Patrice Comey.
Produced by CBS Studios, it has not yet been decided if the series will air on its broadcast network, CBS All Access, Showtime, or any combination thereof. Secret Hideout, The Story Factory, and Home Run Productions will produce in association with CBS, with Alex Kurtzman, Shane Salerno, and Heather Kadin on board, as well. Production is slated to begin in November 2019 with a release date to be announced later.
“A Higher Loyalty” referred to the loyalty Comey said Donald Trump expected of him — a personal loyalty to Trump, over a loyalty to the country, justice, etc. Comey was fired from his position at the FBI in May 2017 based on Trump’s objection to the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Moreover, Comey found out of his dismissal via breaking news coverage, as it played in the background during his speech to FBI agents at the Los Angeles field office. Trump, of course, figures prominently into the book, and it’s expected his role will be of equal coverage in the limited series.
“It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump,” Ray said via a provided statement. “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. Oh, and you have to be spectacularly talented and watchable. Not many actors check all those boxes. Brendan does. I’m ecstatic about this.”
Gleeson can currently be seen in the Audience Network series “Mr. Mercedes,” based on Stephen King’s novels. Daniels can be seen on Broadway as Atticus Finch through November 3. Starting November 5, Ed Harris will take over the role for the acclaimed (and highly profitable) adaptation.