What do Gillian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt have in common?

The Envelope Podcast logo

Hello! It’s Mark Olsen, film writer for The Times and “The Envelope” podcast co-host. This week on the show, I’m chatting with Gillian Anderson, who plays Eleanor Roosevelt in “The First Lady.”

Taking on a historical figure isn’t new for Anderson — who also plays Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown” and Catherine’s mother, Joanna, in “The Great.” Nor is portraying a character who stays in her lane, which wasn’t a stretch from Anderson’s own personality. “There was never, ever telling Gillian what she could or couldn’t do,” she recalls her mother sharing.


In our conversation, we talked about Eleanor Roosevelt as the brains behind the FDR presidency, the focus on Roosevelt’s loving relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok in “The First Lady,” and why it took her some time to click with “Sex Education.”

Gillian Anderson
(Richard Phibbs)

She pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable then and what is still acceptable today in terms of romantic love and companionship.

— Gillian Anderson on Eleanor Roosevelt

Listen now wherever you get your podcasts or on, where you can also read the full transcript.

Thanks, and happy listening!

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