Holly Hunter has been set to play Sally Yates in the CBS Studios event miniseries based on former FBI director James Comey’s bestselling book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. Yates served as a U.S. Attorney and later Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General under President Barack Obama, and took on the role of Attorney General for 10 days following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. It did not go well.
The Oscar- and Emmy-winning Hunter joins Jeff Daniels as Comey, Brendan Gleeson as Trump, Michael Kelly as Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Jennifer Ehle as Patrice Comey. Billy Ray adapted and is directing the miniseries, which begins shooting next month. CBS will set an airdate and decide whether to broadcast it on Showtime, CBS All Access or both. It most certainly will be ready in the topical period when Trump runs for a second term.
Hunter will play a major role in the mini, as Yates, who preceded Comey in the whirlwind exit that has become commonplace for those whom Trump considers not loyal, and who resisted his wishes because they felt it violated their ethics or the law. Yates was dismissed for insubordination by Trump on January 30, after she instructed the Justice Department not to make legal arguments defending an executive order that temporarily banned the admission of refugees and barred travel from certain Muslim-majority countries. Rather than defend it, Yates stated the order was neither defensible in court nor consistent with the Constitution.
Large portions of the order were subsequently blocked by federal courts, which ruled that those sections violated the Fifth Amendment. However, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a portion of the executive order and its accompanying travel ban in a 5–4 decision, with the majority opinion being written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Said Ray: “Though I’d never met Holly before, this part was written for her. There was no one else who could play it. In my first phone call with her, I spent 10 minutes just telling her how much I loved her in Broadcast News. She’s the kind of actor who makes a movie better, instantly.”
Alex Kurtzman, Shane Salerno and Heather Kadin are exec producing, and the mini is produced by Secret Hideout, The Story Factory and Home Run
Productions in association with CBS Television Studios.
Hunter is represented by ICM Partners, Management 360 and attorney Melanie Cook.