Jeff Daniels adds ‘Comey Rule’ to ‘Newsroom,’ ‘Mockingbird’ resume

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Jeff Daniels calls playing Atticus Finch in the stage adaptation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ the “role of a lifetime.” The Tony-nominee says the classic story still “slaps white America in the face.”  (May 29)

AP Entertainment

Fans often bring up Will McAvoy’s memorable Northwestern speech from “The Newsroom” when they encounter Jeff Daniels, who played the sharp, dyspeptic anchor in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama.

Filmmakers remember McAvoy and his scorching critique of American exceptionalism, too, which has led to a rich bounty of intriguing roles in recent years, including former FBI Director James Comey in Showtime’s miniseries “The Comey Rule” (Part 2, Monday, 9 EDT/PDT).

“The commonality that’s happened since ‘Newsroom’ is that I’m getting a lot more offers because of that. McAvoy, was a complicated guy, and that’s what I get now,” Daniels says.

Since “Newsroom” was canceled in 2014, those roles include risk-averse NASA Director Teddy Sanders in “The Martian” (2015); outlaw Frank Griffin in “Godless” (2017); FBI agent John O’Neill in “The Looming Tower” (2018);” and Atticus Finch in Sorkin’s 2018 Broadway adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Morality play: Jeff Daniels’ performance in ‘Comey Rule’ made James Comey feel ‘nauseous,’ and Daniels is OK with that

Jeff Daniels plays FBI Director James Comey in Showtime’s “The Comey Rule,” the latest in a run of intriguing roles for the longtime actor. (Photo: Ben Mark Holzberg, CBS Television Studios/Showtime)

The much-analyzed, much-criticized Comey – who led the controversial investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails and was fired by President Donald Trump after not pledging loyalty – fits the mold, Daniels says from his Michigan home. 

“Comey” writer-director Billy Ray understands why the actor is in demand. “It’s credibility. When he says something, you believe it. That is a hallmark of Jeff as a person. It comes out