'A Higher Loyalty': Jeff Daniels to Play James Comey, Brendan Gleeson to Play Donald Trump in CBS Miniseries

Prestige miniseries on highly controversial political figures are all the rage right now, which may be how the CBS miniseries based on James Comey‘s bestselling book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership scored such an unfairly impressive cast.

In the Higher Loyalty cast, Jeff Daniels stars as the former FBI director who was fired by President Donald Trump, who will be played by Brendan Gleeson. The four-part CBS Studios event miniseries will cast a new light on the polarizing ex-FBI director.

Variety broke the news that Jeff Daniels has been cast to play former FBI director James Comey in a four-hour CBS Studios miniseries based on Comey’s 2018 book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, which detailed Comey’s experiences in the past two decades of American government, with a focus on the year leading up to his dismissal from the FBI in May 2017 by Donald Trump. The title refers to Trump’s demand that Comey pledge loyalty to him. Brendan Gleeson starring opposite Daniels as Trump.

“Jeff is so perfect for this part. Great actor, instant integrity, loads of warmth, intelligence, complexity and gravitas. We talked backstage after I saw him in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway, and I knew I was looking at the only person who could play Jim Comey. Lucky for me, he said yes,” said writer/director Billy Ray, screenwriter of Captain Phillips.

Comey is a polarizing figure for what many consider to be his part in costing Hillary Clinton the 2016 election. The FBI’s pursuit of the Clinton email controversy was re-upped days before the election, and ended up playing a major role in Trump’s targeting of his opponent, despite the investigation ultimately coming up with nothing to warrant a prosecution. But since this miniseries adapts Comey’s memoir, it’s likely that the drama will end up painting him as a self-sacrificing martyr who was as much a victim of Trump’s whims as the rest of the world. But despite the unappealing quality of this series, Brendan Gleeson makes for far too good a piece of casting as Trump. Gleeson is a massively talented actor who could play Trump as more than just a caricature.

“It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump,” Ray said of Gleeson. “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.”

But despite the impressive casting for the series, it still sounds thoroughly unappealing. The book, released in April 2018 by Flatiron Books, painted a dire portrait of the White House that we already see plenty of in real life — we don’t need it to be dramatized for us again in a prestigious miniseries.

The as-yet-untitled series will be executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, Shane Salerno, and Heather Kadin. The drama is slated to begin production in November 2019 with an air date to be announced soon. The CBS Studios series could air on Showtime, CBS Access, or both.

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