Fired FBI director James Comey is returning to television screens but this time he’ll be played by Jeff Daniels in a CBS mini-series loosely based on Comey’s 2018 memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” according to Variety.
Comey has been out of the limelight for some time, after he put an end to speculation that he might challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 and began posting introspective travel photos to Twitter rather than complaints about his treatment at the hands of the current president. But his life story, it seems, is exactly the kind of material Hollywood has been looking for.
It’s also enough to bring film, television, and stage star Jeff Daniels on board — and to lure him away from his current role as Atticus Finch in Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a theatrical adaptation of the classic novel by Harper Lee. He’ll play James Comey.
Brendan Gleeson will play Donald Trump.
Comey’s story is pretty magical, as the Wrap points out. He’s been a part of some of the biggest headline-grabbing events of the last decade. “From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration’s policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.”
Don’t expect the mini-series to be critical in any way of Comey, however, and not just because the actors on board — especially Daniels — are outspoken progressives who might view Comey as some sort of patron saint of the anti-Trump resistance (even if he’s largely responsible for a last-minute crush of bad public relations for Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, and recently said he disagreed with the decision to pursue impeachment). The script’s author drew from Comey’s memoir in part, but fleshed out his treatment by conducting several interviews with the man himself.
“Ray researched the project for over a year in order to make the drama a fair, responsible and comprehensively documented account of real-life events,” the Wrap reports. “He traveled to Washington, D.C. and several other cities to meet with Comey, his family, and many other key players, including prominent journalists, FBI agents, government officials from both political parties and others.”
It would be easy to cast Comey’s story as a comedy of errors, especially given that the stories that drove him to prominence are so ridiculous and strange it would be almost impossible to script them out of thin air. He presided over the decision to re-open an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use (or, really, misuse) of classified information, and had conversations with the current president that factored into to months of Congressional hearings and a several hundred page Special Counsel report.
But Variety and the Wrap report that the series will be a drama with Comey at the center, and that his Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump interactions will be portrayed as Comey experienced them.
The mini-series begins filming in November, so it may be well into the next election cycle before it hits airwaves. CBS will air it, but Variety claims they haven’t yet decided whether to air it on the basic cable network, CBS’s All Access app, or on Showtime.