Jeff Daniels to play Comey on TV – and Brendan Gleeson to play Trump | Television & radio

Jeff Daniels will play James Comey in a TV adaptation of the former FBI director’s memoir A Higher Loyalty, it was announced on Monday. The news swiftly followed that Brendan Gleeson will play opposite Daniels – as Donald Trump.

“Jeff is so perfect for this part,” Billy Ray, who adapted the book and will direct the miniseries, told Deadline. “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.”

Announcing Gleeson’s casting, Ray said in a statement: “It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump. 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.”

Comey was FBI director from 2013 until he was fired by Donald Trump in May 2017, a move inextricably linked to Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow which former White House strategist Steve Bannon calls in a forthcoming book “maybe” the biggest mistake “in modern political history”.

Comey has become a stringent public critic of the president with an active Twitter presence.

A Higher Loyalty, published in April 2018, deals with the author’s early career in the FBI, his experiences under George W Bush and Barack Obama, his hugely controversial stewardship of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails amid the 2016 election and his brief but tumultuous service under Trump.

Reviewing the book, the Guardian said it “portrays Trump as a cataclysmic threat to the nation. As for Trump’s expectation of personal loyalty, [Comey] puts Trump on par with a mafia don, writing that [a] Trump demand was like a ‘Cosa Nostra induction ceremony – with Trump in the role of the family boss, asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man’.’”

CBS bought the rights to Comey’s book after a bidding war last year. Deadline reported on Monday that filming on the miniseries will begin in November, after Daniels finishes a year-long Broadway run in Aaron Sorkin’s hit adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel. An air date is yet to be determined.

The TV version of Comey’s hit Trump book is not alone. The Emmy-winning director Jay Roach, for example, is attached to the screen version of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff.

That tell-all, the originator of a thriving publishing sector, exploded into the national consciousness and rocked the Trump administration when the Guardian obtained an early copy in January 2018.

Comey’s book has sold more than 2m copies. Wolff’s first effort – he followed up with Siege: Trump Under Fire this year – surpassed 4m sales.

Roach made the HBO version of Game Change, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book on the 2008 election which tracked how Obama beat John McCain for the White House.

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