How Close 'The Comey Rule' Actors Look to Who They're Playing

The Comey Rule is set to be one of the most controversial TV series of the year, telling the inside story of the recent events around former FBI director James Comey (played by Jeff Daniels), President Donald Trump (Brendan Gleeson) and other top political figures' role in the 2016 election.

The cast of the Showtime series also features other actors you may know, including Holly Hunter, Jonathan Banks and Michael Kelly, as well as some characters who are major players in American politics, including Barack Obama, Michael Flynn (William Sadler) and Jeff Sessions.

As is the case with TV dramas based on real history, such as the recent Mrs. America or the American Crime Story series, one of the joys is seeing how closely the actors resemble the people they are playing.

Many viewers were spooked when The Comey Rule trailer came out to discover how uncanny Gleeson's take on Trump was. Esquire called his appearance in the promo "a triumph of prosthetic architecture," for example.

The real people versus the actors playing them in The Comey Rule

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However, the Guardian's reviewer of the Showtime show is less sure of the likeness. "It's a fine impression and middling performance," it writes, "better in its particulars than in its essence.

"Visually, he's a dead ringer in profile, but looks unnatural in head-on shots. The hair's wrong, missing the comb-over's wispy structural complexities. And though Gleeson's got the tone of voice down pat, he can't master the cadence, that aimless lilt that saunters from one half-formed thought to the next."

Jeff Daniels' role as Comey, however, impressed one of the toughest critics to please: Comey himself. In a New York Times piece, the ex-FBI director said of The Newsroom actor's take on him: "I'm watching this, and I'm feeling slightly ill. Jeff is capturing my discomfort in an amazing way. So when I met him, I said: 'The best compliment I can pay you is you just ruined my day. I feel awful.' Yeah, the scene is eerily accurate."

Browse through the slideshow above to see the biggest stars of The Comey Rule, and read on for a quick guide to the big stars and who they are playing in the series.

James Comey - Jeff Daniels

Who is James Comey: The former FBI director, whose book, A Higher Loyalty, The Comey Rule is based on.

Who plays him: Jeff Daniels, whose varied filmography includes Dumb and Dumber, The Newsroom and The Squid and the Whale.

Sally Yates - Holly Hunter

Who is Sally Yates: Obama's United States Deputy Attorney General, who became Acting Attorney General on the day of Trump's inauguration, only to be fired by the new president 10 days later.

Who plays her: Holly Hunter, the Oscar-winning star of The Piano, Broadcast News and Succession.

Andrew McCabe - Michael Kelly

Who is Andrew McCabe: Deputy Director of the FBI from February 2016 to January 2018.

Who plays him: Michael Kelly, best known in a (slightly) more terrifying portrait of a presidency, House of Cards. He has also recently starred in Jack Ryan and Taboo.

Patrice Comey - Jennifer Ehle

Who is Patrice Comey: The wife of James Comey, who supported Hillary Clinton in the election.

Who plays her: Jennifer Ehle, still best known for the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. She has also appeared recently in The Looming Tower (alongside Jeff Daniels), Fifty Shades of Grey and Vox Lux.

Rod Rosenstein - Scoot McNairy

Who is Rod Rosenstein: Deputy Attorney General from April 2017 to May 2019, and the author of a memo that Trump has cited as the reason he fired Comey.

Who plays him: Scoot McNairy, of Monsters, Argo and Narcos: Mexico.

James Clapper - Jonathan Banks

Who is James Clapper: Director of National Intelligence from August 2010 to Trump's inauguration in January 2017.

Who plays him: Jonathan Banks, best known as Mike the Cleaner in Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and El Camino.

Peter Strzok - Steven Pasquale

Who is Peter Strzok: A former FBI agent, who as Chief of the Counterespionage Section led the bureau's Hillary Clinton investigation.

Who plays him: Steven Pasquale, whose biggest role is probably another real-life law enforce – he played Mark Fuhrman in American Crime Story. He also appeared in The Good Wife, Bloodline and Doubt.

Brendan Gleeson - Donald Trump

Who is Donald Trump: The real-estate mogul and one-time The Apprentice host who became the 45th President of the United States of American in 2017.

Who plays him: Brendan Gleeson, father of the Gleeson acting dynasty and star of In Bruges, Mr. Mercedes and Assassin's Creed.

Other famous figures in The Comey Rule are played by the following:

  • Barack Obama - Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders)
  • Jeff Sessions - Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
  • Michael Flynn - William Sadler (Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey)
  • Reince Priebus - T.R. Knight (Grey's Anatomy)
  • Jared Kushner - Philip Riccio (Rent-a-Goalie)
  • Loretta Lynch - Michael Hyatt (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
  • Donald Trump Jr. - Harmon Walsh (Christmas Wedding Runaway)

The Comey Rule airs on Sunday, September 27 and Monday, September 28 on Showtime.