Jeff Daniels to Play James Comey in CBS Studios Miniseries

Jeff Daniels-James Comey-Brendan Gleeson-Donald Trump - Getty - Split - H 2019
Getty Images

Jeff Daniels will star as former FBI director James Comey in a miniseries from CBS TV Studios.

The project, which CBS Studios locked down a year ago, is based on Comey's memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.

Additionally, Brendan Gleeson (Mr. Mercedes, the Harry Potter franchise) will play President Donald Trump — who fired Comey as FBI director in May 2017 and is a major figure in the book. A Higher Loyalty takes its title from what Comey says Trump demanded of him during the investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Published in April 2018, A Higher Loyalty was an instant best-seller, moving more than 600,000 copies in its first week. The book covers Comey's 2013-17 tenure as FBI director, his role in the 2016 election — both in the investigation of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and in Russian interference with the election — and his relationship with Trump, who fired Comey in May 2017.

Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Captain Phillips) adapted the book and will direct the miniseries, which is scheduled to go into production in November. A premiere date hasn't been set; CBS executives also have yet to decide whether the project will air on Showtime, CBS All Access or potentially both.

"Jeff is so perfect for this part: great actor, instant integrity, loads of warmth, intelligence, complexity and gravitas," said Ray. "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."

Of Gleeson, Ray said, "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."

Daniels, a two-time Emmy winner, is set to wrap his starring run as Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird on Nov. 3 (Ed Harris will take over the role after that). He starred on Hulu's limited series The Looming Tower in 2018 and is set to star in the Showtime drama Rust.

Ray, who spent a year researching the Comey miniseries, is executive producing with Alex Kurtzman, Shane Salerno and Heather Kadin. The project comes from Kurtzman's Secret Hideout, The Story Factory and Home Run Productions in association with CBS TV Studios.

Daniels is repped by ICM and Martino Management. Gleeson is repped by The Agency in Ireland and Principal Entertainment.