It’s likely that a time may come in which film and TV depictions of Donald Trump are extremely commonplace, as has been the case for many of his presidential predecessors including Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
And the first notable actor to take a stab at it, not including Alec Baldwin’s satirical version for Saturday Night Life, is Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, who plays the 45th President of the USA in a new series for Showtime, airing on Sky Atlantic in the UK.
Gleeson is joined in the cast by many familiar faces, also playing real-life figures from US politics, in the series which is based on former FBI director James Comey’s book about life in the Trump administration.
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast, including which real-life figures they are playing and where you might have seen them before.
Jeff Daniels plays James Comey
Who is James Comey? Comey was the director of the FBI from 2013 until his very public dismissal in 2017. Since his firing, Comey has been critical of President Trump in the media, and his book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, on which this series is based, discusses his time working under Trump in details.
Where have I seen Jeff Daniels before? A popular Hollywood actor, you’re likely to have seen Daniels in any number of films including Dumb and Dumber, The Hours, Looper and The Martian. On the small screen he garnered acclaim – and an Emmy – for his performance as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom, while he has also worked extensively on stage, with three Tony nominations to his name.
Brendan Gleeson plays President Donald Trump
Who is Donald Trump? Trump certainly won’t need any introduction – the 45th President of the USA is one of the most famous, and most controversial, figures in the world. His treatment and firing of Comey came under intense scrutiny following the latter’s departure from the FBI in 2017.
Where have I seen Brendan Gleeson before? The Irish star is well-known for appearing as Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter films, and has also had acclaimed roles in a wealth of films, including 28 Days Later, In Bruges and Calvary. This isn’t the first time he’s played a significant political leader – he won an Emmy for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the 2009 TV film Into the Storm.
Michael Kelly plays Andrew McCabe
Who is Andrew McCabe? McCabe was the FBI’s Deputy Director from 2016 to 2018, and briefly stepped in as its Acting Director following the firing of Comey. He was dismissed in 2018, just over a day before he had been set to retire.
Where have I seen Michael Kelly before? Kelly is no stranger to political dramas – his most famous role is playing fictional White House Chief of Staff Doug Stamper in Netflix series House of Cards, which earned him four Emmy nominations. He has also appeared in The Sopranos, Black Mirror and Taboo, and in films including The Adjustment Bureau, Now You See Me, and Everest.
Jennifer Ehle plays Patrice Comey
Who is Patrice Comey? Patrice is James Comey’s wife, who appears regularly in his book on which the series is based.
Where have I seen Jennifer Ehle before? Ehle’s stage career is particularly lauded, but her most notable work on the screen includes a BAFTA winning turn as Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, and film roles in The King’s Speech, Contagion and Zero Dark Thirty.
Holly Hunter plays Sally Yates
Who is Sally Yates? Lawyer Sally Yates very briefly served as Acting Attorney General in January 2017 – lasting just ten days before she was sacked by Trump for insubordination.
Where have I seen Holly Hunter before? Highly acclaimed actor Hunter has won one Oscar, for her performance in The Piano, and been nominated for another three, for Broadcast News, The Firm and Thirteen respectively. She has a huge number of other film and TV credits to her name – recently appearing in season 2 of hit HBO drama Succession as Rhea Jarrell.
Peter Coyote plays Robert Mueller
Who is Robert Mueller? Another name that will be very familiar to anyone who keeps a close eye on American politics, Mueller is a former FBI director and was brought in as Special Counsel to carry out an investigation into claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, eventually filing his report in 2019.
Where have I seen Peter Coyote before? Coyote has appeared in a raft of well-known movies throughout the years – perhaps most famously as Keys in E.T. He is also an Emmy winner, having been awarded the prize for Outstanding Narrator for his voice work on The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, one of many Ken Burns documentaries he has lend his voice to.
Steven Pasquale plays Peter Strzok
Who is Peter Strzok? Strzok is a former FBI agent who led the organisation’s investigation into Russian interference, and who was involved in Mueller’s investigation before he was removed when it came to light that he had made criticisms of Trump in private text messages.
Where have I seen Steven Pasquale before? Pasquale is probably best known for his role as a main character on FX comedy-drama Rescue Me, while other small screen roles have included appearances on Six Feet Under, The Good Wife, and Doubt.
Oona Chaplin plays Lisa Page
Who is Lisa Page? FBI lawyer Page was a trial attorney on Mueller’s team, and had shared text messages with Strzok disparaging Trump.
Where have I seen Oona Chaplin before? Game of Thrones fans might recognise Chaplin as Talisa Maegyr, a role she played for 11 episodes, while other TV credits include The Hour, The Crimson Field, Black Mirror epiose White Christmas and Taboo. She is set to appear in the upcoming Avatar sequels, and comes from a famous acting family – with her grandfather being one Charlie Chaplin!
Scoot McNairy plays Rod Rosenstein
Who is Rod Rosenstein? Rosentein was Sally Yates’ replacement as Deputy Attorney General and held the role from January 2017 until May 2019. He authored the memo Trump used as the basis for his decision to fire Comey and appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Where have I seen Scoot McNairy before? Recently McNairy appeared as fictional FBI agent Walt Breslin in the second series of Narcos: Mexico (he had served as narrator in the first series) while other TV credits include True Detective and Godless. On the big screen he has had supporting roles in Argo,12 Years a Slave, Frank, Gone Girl, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Kingsley Ben-Adir plays President Barack Obama
Who is Barack Obama? Another figure who want need an introduction – Obama was of course Trump’s predecessor as President, and has been vocally critical of his successor.
Where have I seen Kingsley Ben-Adir before? Ben-Adir’s previous small screen roles include pathologist Marcus Summer on Vera and detective Karim Washington in the second season of The OA. He also recently played another notable real life figure, starring as Malcolm X in Regina King’s directorial debut One Night in Miami.
Brian d’Arcy James plays Mark Giuliano
Who is Mark Giuliano? Giuliano was the FBI’sDeputy Director from 2013 to 2016, working under Comey.
Where have I seen Brian d’Arcy James before? D’Arcy James’ most prominent work has been on the stage – appearing in Hamilton and The Ferryman. On screen he had a recurring role as Andy Baker on 13 Reasons Why and has appeared in films including Spotlight, Molly’s Game and Bombshell. He will play Police Sergeant Krupke in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story.
Other cast members in The Comey Rule include William Sadler as Michael Flynn, T. R. Knight as Reince Priebus, Steve Zissis as Jim Baker, Shawn Doyle as Bill Priestap, Jonathan Banks as James Clapper, Richard Thomas as Chuck Rosenberg, Seann Gallagher as Jim Rybicki. Amy Seimetz as Trisha Anderson, Damon Gupton as Jeh Johnson, Joe Lo Truglio as Jeff Sessions, Michael Hyatt as Loretta Lynch and Spencer Garrett as Bill Sweeney.
The Comey Rule starts on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 9pm on Wednesday 30th September 2020. Find out what else to watch with our TV Guide.